Think networking is just for getting a job? Think again. If you are new on the job, it helps a great deal to network and get to know your new co-workers. Effective internal networking not only helps establish strong professional (and sometimes personal) connections, but it also helps your career in the long term.
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Here are a few tips to help you network effectively at the start of your new job.
- Start at your new hire onboarding (NHO): The onboarding session includes people from various departments, so this is a great place to meet people at different levels, in different teams. Since all of you are starting at the same time, this program presents a great opportunity to connect outside of work-related meetings. You also get to meet the important functional representatives as they share information about their respective teams at the NHO.
- Talk to your manager: Understand your role and get the names of people you will interact with on an ongoing basis for your job. Start by reaching out to them for introductions and set up some time to just get to know each other. Know what you will discuss and how you will approach them, as good preparation before a meeting speaks volumes of the capability of a person. Your manager may also share the names of people “good to know”; you don’t have to immediately reach out to them, but over a period of time, try connecting with them in various settings.
- Meet with your predecessor: If he/she is still in the office, you can connect with them and understand the details, strengths, and complexities of your role. If possible and if they are willing, set up frequent touch points in the beginning to learn about your job and how they managed it.
- Smile at people: Not in a creepy, crazy kind of way, but in a genuine and interested way. Nod hello when you bump into people at the water cooler or the lunch room. If you see the person pausing, introduce yourself. Everyone’s busy and you don’t want to get in the way. If they stop for introductions, let them know that you are new and are just getting to know the office. People are generally friendly, and they will return warmth with warmth.
- Attend informal get-togethers: If your office organizes picnics, family events, success parties, or encourages hobby clubs, etc. try and make it to these, at least in the beginning, just so you see how people interact and engage over these meetings. Since the setting is informal, you get to know people outside the workplace.
- Volunteer when there are opportunities: If it’s a company-wide call for volunteers for various events or for specific projects, volunteer for tasks you think you will be able to help with. These are great opportunities to get to know people from different teams.
- Ask for a mentor or a buddy: In the first few months, a buddy is a great resource to help you navigate through the system and introduce you to new people. Since a buddy is generally a peer who’s been with the organization longer, he/she could help you in getting familiar with people and their jobs. A mentor who is a senior in the organization has a larger network, has more influence and clout, and can help with networking up the ranks.
- Don’t be in a hurry: You don’t have to get to know everyone quickly. Take your time; let your work do the talking. You want to be known as a person who gets his/her job done and is a smart worker. Use opportunities when they arise. You don’t have to be in a rush to connect with everyone working in the organization. It will happen – eventually.
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