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Networking into an Entry-Level Job and Beyond

Networking into an Entry-Level Job and Beyond

John Rossheim | Monster Senior Contributing Writer

December 16, 2009

After you’ve successfully completed a job search, shouldn’t networking be the last thing on your mind? Not so, say networking experts. In fact, internal networking, right from the beginning, is key to maintaining the upward trajectory of your career. Here’s how to successfully launch your networking campaign at a new job.

Why Network from the Start?

“When you start in a job, you’re going to be judged early, and you want to be judged as someone who makes things happen,” says Richard Moran, a partner at venture capital firm Venrock Associates. Introducing yourself to coworkers in a wide range of roles is a good way to begin.

So networking is important from the get-go. But given your newbie status, your internal networking should be carefully calibrated. Soon after you start a job, “you’ve got to increase your visibility, but without being pompous,” says Bill Behn, managing director for financial staffing firm SolomonEdwardsGroup.

Whom to Network With

Even early on, your network needs to go beyond the folks in adjoining cubes — without embracing everyone on the payroll. But where to begin?

“Start your networking with people who started the same job you have about a year ago, because they’ll tell you what you’re going to be measured on,” advises Moran.

After that, says Gayle Lantz, president of consulting firm WorkMatters Inc., “ask your boss who the most important people are for you to meet.”

Next, seek out people with more clout, Moran says. “Organizations have samurai who are out there doing the big stuff every day, and you have to figure out who they are and whether you can become one,” he adds.

How to Make Internal Networking Happen

When you’re new on the job, you want to make a lot of contacts fairly quickly while also building your reputation as a hard worker. “You don’t want to be the person who’s hanging out at everyone’s cubicle,” says Brendan Courtney, a senior vice president at staffing firm Spherion. “You want to take advantage of those opportunities that happen during lunch or while you’re getting coffee.”

When you’re asking for more substantial advice, be mindful of your colleagues’ full schedules. “Breakfast, before the workday starts, is a good time to pick people’s brains,” Courtney suggests.