8 Tips for Building Your Career Network, or The Path to Sreedom

mm Bill Pace

No, that’s not a typo. I meant to write “Sreedom”. It’s a word-play on “Freedom”. Get it? You’re right, not that funny. But the story behind it might be instructional.

You see, it’s the story of Sree Sreenivasan. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s created a great career networking model for all of us. Sree was the Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. A big job in a big and important organization. One day, out of the blue, he was fired. Laid off as part of a “financial restructuring”. Bummer, Sree.

While losing his job came as a complete surprise, Sree was prepared… really prepared. He’d been using a variety of social media tools for years to build his network. The day he was fired, he launched his own “find a great new job campaign” using his extensive network, hundreds of people that he had stayed in reasonably close touch with. So when Sree reached out by posting what had happened to him, people responded: “For the last few days, I’ve been in this global digital hug, people who I haven’t heard from in years have said: ‘I want to help you’.”

In the following month, Sree received more than 1,000 reactions to his note and by the end of his very public search process, he landed the job of Chief Digital Officer of New York City. How cool is that?

His lessons for how to build and use a network for finding new work are clear and compelling:

  1. It’s important to have control of your narrative
  2. Ignore the trolls and amplify your fans
  3. You have to build your network when you don’t need it, then people can be there for you when you do need it
  4. Most people think you go to LinkedIn to hunt for a job, which you do, but it’s really a career management tool
  5. Reach out to a mentor today… reach out today is a piece of advice I’d give everybody
  6. Jobs come and go, but your network never leaves
  7. Ask yourself, who are the three, four people I want to add in the next month to my network
  8. Go out and meet people, go to networking events.

Well done, Sree. For more details, check out the full story at Making Sense.

Bill Pace is Managing Director of ClearlyNext, a guided online career program that helps people of all backgrounds and incomes figure out what to do next. Read more >