I didn’t understand the value of real networking until I was a number of years into my career. I learned the hard (and long) way. But now with the plethora of networking avenues, events, social online sites, and education around on how to network it is easier than ever for new (and some of us older!) HR professionals.
Advice by networking experts all seem to point to being ‘strategic’ with your networking efforts for it to grow in value in the long term. So how can you help your network grow in value and who are the people you must have in your HR network?
This outline is fully credited to Alan Collins of Success In HR:
1. A Mentor Figure
This is a person who has reached the level of HR success and position you aspire to have as your ultimate career pinnacle. Also mentors in ‘stepping stone’ positions you plan to enter into on your career journey. Learn from them what their mistakes where and what tactics or decisions they made that lead to their success.
2. A Godfather Figure
A very senior executive with high influence in your current organisation. Some one who will champion for you behind closed doors when you are being discussed. Who will put in a good word for you, or back you up for HR projects are assignments that can stretch you and advance your career. This person could be your boss, but is not always. Seek a person with stature and a leader of change.
3. A Stand Out HR Recruiter
What makes them a stand out? They seek out the best interests of both factors of their business that are critical. (i.e, not just the client) They will give you open and objective advice about your capabilities, but will have an open mind and capability to see your transitional skills, and strengths. They will reach out and touch base with you, even when they are not looking to fill a role. Nothing is more of a turnoff than a headhunter who is your best friend when they need to present you to a client, then dumps you to chase a warmer lead. A head hunter who will help you position yourself effectively, even if it is not for an assignment of theirs. Smart head hunters will know that the investment in time they make will return in good business in the future, where ever they are.
4. A Visionary
A visionary is a person who can see value and benefit on a large scale, in the future. Some of the greatest visionaries in their areas of expertise are Bill Gates, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and locally, Fred Hollows. Seek out people in the HR space who are thought leaders, who will discuss with you, your innovative ideas and help you flesh them out. Connect with HR bloggers, speakers, consultants and even journalists in the HR space.
5. A Partner
This is a person who understands your profession, who you can feel as an equal with, whom you can totally confide in your absolute worries, fears, and concerns. Some one you can trust fully with your secrets. Mentor programs are a great way you can tap into a trusted confidant.
6. A Mentee
Some one who is up-and-coming in their HR career. Who can learn and benefit from all you have gained and valued from your network and experiences. As above be involved in industry related mentor programs, or start one yourself with a good network of experienced HR professionals.
So how is your HR network looking like? Is it time to shake it up and get it working for you?
Feel free to start a conversation now and connect with me au.linkedin.com/in/annemarieorrock/
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Anne-Marie Orrock is a leading Human Resources expert helping companies raise the level of sophistication of their HR practice and strategy through her consulting organisation Corporate Canary HR. Anne-Marie is regularly sought out for expert comment in the media on human resources, recruitment, leadership, and has featured in BOSS Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, HR Monthly, HRD Magazine, Management Today, Dynamic Business, ELLE, Cosmopolitain, CLEO, Marie Claire, NETT#, My Business, Sun Herald. She is a consultant writer for online sites including School Hours and contributing author to the book, ‘Mind Your Own Business’ published by Mithra Publishing, in June 2012 in the United Kingdom. Anne-Marie has worked with a range of companies to develop their HR strategy including blue chip organisations such as ANZ Bank, NZI Insurance, Deutsche Bank, 3M, Symantec, PeopleSoft, Citrix Systems, Ella Bache, and NASDAQ.