If you are considering a move to a new organization or within your existing organization, it is likely that your network will play a role in helping you secure that new opportunity. Your network may include people you used to work with, individuals you met at conferences and it should also include colleagues from your current organization. Colleagues at your current place of employment can be well situated to recommend you for a promotion. As well, they may have contacts in your industry at other organizations which can be helpful when you’re looking to make a move to a new organization. Ideally your career brand is solid – you have a good work ethic and you’re a valued employee – this will serve you well as you make efforts to strengthen your internal network. Whether it’s through projects, references, connections or referrals, your colleagues could be instrumental in strengthening your employee brand.
Converse with your colleagues. Find out what they’re working on. Conduct research to find out who is working on projects or initiatives that you can support. Be strategic, align yourself with work that develops skills that are required for what you’re hoping to do next. It makes so much sense to do this development within the context of your current role. Managers, mentors and leaders who know about employee engagement will understand that it’s a win-win to have people grow their career portfolio within their current organization.
Once you have communicated with your colleagues and made a good impression, add them to your LinkedIn network. Endorse their skills and over time you will receive endorsements as well. Request recommendations from them on LinkedIn. The recommendations do not need to be from your manager, they can be from a direct report, someone you worked with cross-functionally or an internal client. LinkedIn recommendations are a great way for the reader to learn more about what you’re like to work with. There is so much credibility and value in having someone you currently work with shed light on your approach to work, your expertise and accomplishments. Show colleagues that you are up to date on your role and industry by posting and commenting in the LinkedIn newsfeed. Being active in the newsfeed every few weeks can help keep you top of mind.
Let people know the types of projects and roles you are interested in. Of course, use discretion if a role is external. It can be helpful to let key colleagues know of your career goals so they can help you build your career portfolio and/or let you know about relevant opportunities.
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Develop and evolve your network of current colleagues – ideally these connections can be mutually beneficial. You will likely benefit greatly from having one of these colleagues tell you about or recommend you for a new opportunity. It really isn’t difficult to grow your network via internal colleagues, after all they’re likely working a few feet away.