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Relationship Building in Uncertain Times

// 2020 Apr 24

By Russ Holbrook, SHRM Senior Certified Professional, Rutgers University

We’re confronting extraordinary challenges with the advance of the world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, the impact of the COVID-19 has tested everyone in small and big ways.

Through the uncertainty, however, many of us have found strength in relying on our relationships with others.  We have families, friends and acquaintances to depend on.

The same goes for our work relationships.  Although we may be separated physically, we have technology at our fingertips to help us keep close ties with others. That is why now is an excellent time to reach out to our contacts, both on a personal and professional manner.

Let’s revisit the true nature of networking as a start.

Networking is all about building work relationships for the long haul.  In short, networking is a mutually beneficial experience in which people share information with one another.

Here are 10 guidelines to make networking work for you.

PREPARE

1.You know more people than you think! Remember the law of 6 degrees of separation which means that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. Start by making a list of all the people you know, including family, friends, acquaintances, classmates and professional colleagues.  Then sort the list into 3 groups:  A, B, and C individuals, with the A list representing your most powerful contacts.

2.Next, develop a networking handbill, which is highly condensed resume. The one-page document needs to include:

  • Name and Contact Information – Include your LinkedIn address.
  • Professional Profile – Two to three sentences which summarizes your career. Include your greatest strengths in this section.
  • Work Experience – Names of the companies you have worked for (no dates) and a one sentence summary of your greatest accomplishment with each organization.
  • Position Seeking – List the kind of work you are seeking in strategic human resources management.
  • Education – Do not include dates.
  • Target Companies – Identify organizations you would like to explore working for.

3.Tap into technology to network. Networking face-to-face is vital, but under the present circumstances, use social media, video conferencing and other online resources to reinforce relationships and search for new connections.

4.Use your networking handbill as a springboard into discussion. Do not give the person your resume, as doing so will steer the meeting into a review and critique of your resume.

5.One of your objectives during the meeting is to learn more about the person you are meeting with. Potential discussion topics include:

  • Careers in human resources management
  • Importance of human resources management
  • Fundamentals of human resources management
  • Advice on how to secure a position within HR

6.Seek a referral. Ask:  Now that you know more about me, do you know of another individual I should reach out to?

7.Then, contact the referral!

8.Get back to the initial contact and tell them you did indeed meet with their referral.

FINAL THOUGHTS

9.Don’t get disappointed when you find out that the people you expected to be of most help, aren’t. You may find that the people you know the least may be the ones that help you the most.

10.After you land a job, KEEP NETWORKING! In today’s work world, nothing is for sure.

The good news is that you will find some awesome experiences as you network.  You will find connections that you didn’t know existed and meet some very interesting people along the way. In addition, you most certainly will build on the relationships you already have with your “connectors”.

I encourage you to reach out to someone today.

Have questions? Want more information about Rutgers Human Resources training programs? Contact Rutgers Executive Education.