Networking is one of the most frequently used business buzzwords, yet the art o networking is sometimes misunderstood. Networking involves more than just small talk between people who have something in common. It illuminates possible sources for finding a better job, gathering information, or sharing professiona skills. It forms a professional community linking people with similar interests or goals. Networking can be as simple as staying in touch with those in the kno or as complicated as attending seminars designed to help professionals communicate.
Not only for the temporarily unemployed, networking is used extensively by professionals who want to maintain and enhance their knowledge of a particular industry. This category includes writers and researchers keeping abreast of current developments and those gathering intelligence. Placement executives, active professionals, and consulting groups are all frequent networkers. Consultants are only as good as their next contract, and they get their job fro first-time introductions or repeat business. But even salaried employees will find the potential rewards of networking well worth the effort.
Where to network. While dealing still continues unabated at the local golf club networking has become more professional than it was in the past. Today it is a practiced skill played out at well-organized seminars, professional conferences corporate board meetings, and even around the water cooler. Some networking groups are better than others, however, and choosing wisely can turn an ordinar conversation into a successful contact.
Trade shows. For security professionals, one key to networking is attendance at industry trade shows. Speaking to exhibitors and making contact with peers can provide current information. Given the large number of attendees at these events, security professionals looking for work are likely to land an interview Trade shows that are networked properly will provide a wealth of information.
Seminars. Many small businesses rely entirely on setting up special networking sessions for those who want to get together with people sharing similar interests. The guest speakers at such functions are likely to be professional networkers who benefit by attending the sessions. For example, in many cases, the speakers are human resource personnel who are attracted by the prospect of new talent. These affairs can be important because human resource professionals and business executives often have inside information on hiring trends.
Association meetings. Membership in professional associations provides inherent networking opportunities. Local meetings and workshops can help educate while keeping individuals in touch with industry trends and interesting developments within the profession. However, membership does require a commitment to the cause. If association meeting attendance is infrequent, colleagues may question that individual's dedication to the field.
Professional groups. Many groups comprised of professionals in a particular field meet to discuss problems and solutions to common security problems. For example, hotel or retail security directors in a city or geographic area might meet monthly to discuss new scams that have emerged. Together they are all less vulnerable to new attacks because the problem is more easily recognized and the con artist can only take advantage of the trick for a limited time.
In Chicago, a group of financial crimes investigators meets monthly. Members include officials in banking, the stock exchanges, government, private industry and law enforcement. At meetings, members provide information on items such as check schemes, counterfeit funds, and theft. Photos of perpetrators are distributed and members discuss ways to foil criminals.
Personnel placement agencies. Another way to collect valuable intelligence in your field is to talk to placement agencies. If one calls, professionals should agree to meet with a representative, even if a current job is satisfactory. …