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Old 08-12-2010, 06:40 AM
bholas bholas is offline
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Default How Admins Can Network

There may be less than six degrees of separation between you and what you want from the workplace, whether it’s a new job or new s****s. But you’ll never know if you don’t make the right connections. So get out there and start networking. These tips will help admins leverage their connections into a broader pool of people who can help them develop new s****s and identify better employment prospects.

Join the Right Organizations

Join a professional organization, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). “As a member of this organization, you have access to more than 28,000 professionals, a job board, a forum, education, certification, monthly/annual meetings and an International Convention with more than 1,800 attendees from all over the world to network with,” says Kyle Sheldon-Chandler, a virtual assistant based in Grand Junction, Colorado, and president of the IAAP’s Colorado-Wyoming-Montana Division.

Another option is your university’s alumni organization. “Alumni social events offer an informal setting where you can meet industry veterans and begin building a personal relationship with them,” explains Valerie Elston, president of the University of Georgia’s capitol-area club and an account executive at Levick Strategic Communications. “These events put you in a relaxed setting on a regular basis with individuals you already have something in common with.”

To really leverage your involvement, volunteer for a committee or event to show your s****s to folks who might have leads on gigs that require just your set of competencies.

Share Your Knowledge

One unique way to network is to create a newsletter or blog. “It doesn't have to be extravagant; it just has to be useful and interesting to the reader,” says Mattison Grey, founder and president of Houston’s Greystone Guides, a leadership coaching and consulting firm. Include stories about what you learned in your job that month, what big task or accomplishment you and your team completed and what others can learn from it.

“A newsletter can get your name out and get you more known, both inside your current company and outside the company,” Grey says. “And you can stay in touch with people who can connect you to other interesting jobs and potential employers when and if you need it.”

Work Networking In

Cynthia D’Amour, author of Are You One Relationship Away from Making Big Money? suggests working networking into other aspects of your life.

“Host monthly dinners at fun restaurants, and invite the interesting people you have recently met or known for years,” D’Amour advises. “Keep the group small -- no more than eight in attendance. Start each dinner sharing what’s exciting that’s happened since last you met. Enjoy the good food, good conversation and relationships that grow with each meal.” This expands your pool and lets you meet people in a lower-stakes environment.

D’Amour also advocates using your dog as a networking tool. “Dog parks can be a wealth of opportunity for both you and your dog,” she says. “My dog Raindrop is a master of networking and starting conversations for me.”

But don’t be afraid to chat about business with the owner of your dog’s new playmate. You never know what kind of connections that person will have. “And with regular exposure at the park, friendships may develop,” D’Amour adds.

Mind Your Networking Manners

Perhaps the best way to get more out of networking is practicing common courtesy.

“Always follow up with email or handwritten notes,” says Bob Woods, founder of Sibdu, a free local network for the commercial real estate, design and construction communities, in Ashburn, Virginia. “Hardly anyone does handwritten notes anymore, so it shows care and thoughtfulness, plus a bit of class. It just helps you to stand out in the crowd.”

And then there’s the golden rule: Do unto others. “A business network is give and take,” says Joe Procopio, founder and president of Intrepid Media, a management and technology consulting company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “If you’re active within the network and help people when they ask for help, they will almost always return the favor.”

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