March 2022

How would you rate the health of your professional network? 

  1. Great: I’ve been keeping up with changes in my professional network and am reaching out consistently to my key contacts updated and I am meeting new folks along the way.
  2. Solid: I have solid connections and keep up to date on who is working where. I miss meeting new colleagues but… 2022 and COVID.
  3. Good: I connect regularly with the colleagues I normally partner with but it’s a small circle and it’s getting smaller.
  4. Fair: When I reach out by phone or email, people call me back. I mostly rely on colleagues how are ‘more in the know’.
  5. Not so sure: So much has changed in the past 2 years and I am just not so sure.
  6. Out of the loop! The professional landscape has changed so much in the past few years and who even sees people anymore! 
  7. Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. I don’t have a professional network to speak of. Where do I even begin?

Our fingers were crossed that you could answer the network question with confidence. It’s safe to say that if you don’t have an answer –  then perhaps we can help you take some action.  

Your network is key to your career health.

Your network is key to your career health. Not only does it help you deliver services within your scope of practice (competency 1.1), it is also critical in helping you maintain your professional boundaries (competency 1.2). We’ve developed this simple network health check below to get you started. Only you know what works for you so follow your own style and pace. 

Where to start? 

Start anywhere is the answer. But if you are someone who needs steps, then start right in your own office. 

Do you work alone or do you have colleagues? ______________

Who do you rely on to support you in problem-solving? ______________

When was the  last time you checked in with them? ______________

List #1 Start a list with a clever title.

  • Co-worker________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________
  • Co-worker________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________
  • Co-worker________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________
  • Co-worker________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________

Small actions mean a great deal in 2022. Consider what you can tell them today that might be helpful? 

  • Make a note of 2 or 3 things that they would like to know? Something you’ve read or heard about. 
  • Telephone, email, a 2-minute visit down the hall, a 15-minute virtual coffee? What works best for you and them? 
  • When are you going to connect? Assign a time in your calendar so you can check the box. 
  • What did you learn? _____________________

Close professional partners

  • Who do you reach out to when you need information or help problem-solving? ______________
  • Whose names are in your email? ______________
  • Who connects with you to ask for help regularly? ______________

Use the CEC Quick Reference Sheet to highlight your 1st point of contact for each agency or department. 

List #2 Start a second list with another clever title. 

  • Colleague________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________
  • Colleague________________, they know a lot about ____________ & _____________
  • Colleague________________, they reach out about ____________ & _____________
  • Colleague________________, they reach out about ____________ & _____________

This feels awkward 2022. We are all wondering if it is rude to call a colleague on the telephone? No one even knows anymore. “Is this a good time?” goes over pretty well. 

What can you tell them today that might be helpful? 

  • Make a note of the top updates from your role and your office. Are things status quo? What does the status quo look like now? Is anything new or in progress? Have you heard of any staffing changes in your office, a partner or funder that would be good to know?…etc. 
  • Random or organized?  It doesn’t matter. If prioritizing helps you get started then ask yourself:  Who is critical to connect with? Who do you need to connect with? Who would you like to connect with? Who would be nice to connect with? 
  • Telephone call, email or passenger pigeon? 
  • Make a plan that can be measured. Are you going to connect with 1 colleague a day, 3 colleagues a week, or 3 per month? Write it down.

Secondary professional partners

  • Some colleagues and partners are outside of your every day; they may be in your mental map but you are not confident about the details.
  • Do you have colleagues who have moved to new roles? 
  • Have you reached out since they started?
  • Do you know what they are doing? How about an “I haven’t forgotten you” message? 

Let’s call this list ‘Partners’

  • What do they need to hear? What are the top updates from your role, your office, the career and employment world? 
  • What works best: email, telephone or video call? 
  • Give yourself kudos. Create a target and assign a time in your calendar. 

What approach suits you? Start somewhere and see where it leads you. We would love to hear about your experience and what works for you to build and maintain your CDP professional network. 

Want to contribute your networking tips and tricks? 

Send along a comment or suggestions and we will add it.

connect@employmentcollaboration.ca