10 Ways to Build a Network at Your New Job

April 16, 2013

networking at the water cooler

Got a new job? Get networking right away! It may take you as many as six months to feel that you are in control of your job. When your orientation takes that long, your organization loses the ability to tap into your creativity, knowledge, new perspectives, expertise, industry contacts, and fresh ideas. Networking can help with all of that.

Networking Internally

What can you do to leap into the saddle ASAP? Here are 10 ideas. Notice how many of them deal with neworking internally.

1. Recognize that you, in a new situation, will need to notice the cultural ground rules and be aware of some of the organizational history before leaping into action.

2. Know that most organizations think that providing you with information is the key to helping you become productive quickly.

3. Get clear that your best strategy is to build relationships, not gulp information. The more connected you feel, the more you’ll feel satisfied and committed to your new job.

4. Often introductions to others in an organization aren’t strategic and are done during a quick walk down a hallway. Ask your boss, ‘‘Who do I need to get to know?’’ Say, ‘‘When you introduce me, I know you’ll be telling about my background. It will help me out if you’ll also fill me in on the other person’s roles and projects. That way, it will be easier for me to go back later and delve into things I need to get up to speed on.’’

5. Ask for or select on your own a ‘‘buddy of the week’’ for at least your first month on the job. This will give you someone to ask questions of.

6. Ask questions and engage in conversations in which you explore your co-workers’ and subordinates’ abilities, skills, and knowledge. Talk to people about their roles and responsibilities.

7. Take advantage of your newbie ‘‘halo.’’ When you begin, you have a window of time in which people expect you to be a bit different. Even if networking is not the norm in your organization, you can use this time to get out of your cubicle and meet as many people as you can.

8. Ask for assignments that bring you in contact with others, not stand-alone projects.

9. Jump over to other groups and find out how your group and theirs are connected.

10. Identify the in-house experts and resource people. Ask everyone you talk with, ‘‘Who else should I get to know?’’ When the same names keep popping up, you will have found the key influencers. Call and arrange to meet. Ask your boss to contact these folks in advance of your call so you are never ‘‘calling cold.’’

Watch this video for more networking tips from Anne Baber:

Adapted with permission from Make Your Contacts Count, Second Edition by Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon (Amacom Books).

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About The Author

Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon are co-founders and partners in Contacts Count LLC, a nationwide consulting and training firm specializing in business and professional networking.

One Comment »

  1. avatar

    I was very lucky when I started my current job ten years ago to have extremely helpful guidance on Day One, from the person who had previously held the same job. She gave me insights that proved true both immediately and long-term. Especially important was her providing me a behind-the-scenes look at Who really did What, Who to go to for specific information, Who would be helpful and Who wouldn’t be as cooperative, etc. This kind of information is critical when starting a new job and it often differs what what is listed on the formal organizational chart.

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