I recommend an intentional practice of identifying and investing in relationships with 20 or so people across the bands of your life. They may be from your current /former workplaces, Chamber of Commerce/service club groups, church, college alums, etc. These 20 people with naturally evolve into your life, it you are intentional in letting them in. They will be people you keep in touch with, seek advice from, and otherwise build and grow understanding and support. These people will reach out to you and you will naturally want to help them navigate a challenge or provide other support.
If you have this group cultivated in your network, they will be natural connections when you need help to look for a career move, need an immediate job opportunity, or find yourself seeking wisdom on a career related challenge. When you have been laid off, they will take your call. They will give you advice. Some will make calls for you. Some will have warm or hot leads for you. They will agree to be a reference for you.
Never be in the spot where you need to say this… “Margaret, I haven’t talked to you in five years. Would you be my reference for a job application I’m doing?” Or worse yet, not give a heads up at all.
Next week we are going to tease out the difference between a “job” and “career.”