Congratulations on your new gig! Now you can sit back, relax, and not worry about networking ever again, right? Wrong! Before you get anxious about continuing your networking journey, relax because now that you have a job, things are going to be a little different. You are now official! You got that sweet tech position, and chances are, you are going to want to stay there a while. And even when that is (hopefully) the case, you don't want to drop off the face of the earth. So here are some tips for networking while you are employed and not looking for a new job.
You were the one looking for a referral not that long ago. Now you are in a position where you can make referrals! Think of all the people you have met on your journey. Who are your classmates or other people in your cohort? Who are the friends you made on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Discord? Who have you talked to who is an amazing fit for the company you work at?
There are a few reasons why you would want to give referrals. First of all, it puts you in a position to help someone else along on their job-hunting mission. As someone who just came out the other end, you know how hard it can be. Next, you know some talented folx! Maybe it's imposter syndrome, but I think pretty much everyone else writes better code than I do. And I want to work with people who are amazing at code. And I'm going to want to work with friendly people, and I have met a bunch of them through networking. Finally, several companies offer referral bonuses. This isn't just in the tech world—several companies I have worked for in the past offer referral bonuses. Basically, if you refer someone, they get hired, and they stay for a certain length of time, your company will pay you an amount of money. All that just for who you know! Networking is literally paying off!
How would you go about referring people to your current employer? In Part 4 of my Networking Guide for Beginners, you learned about getting permission before sharing contact details. This is a good practice in general, and it continues to be a good practice with your manager and higher ups.
Example Script: "Good morning Mr. Swanson, My friend April was in my bootcamp and worked on a Hackathon with me. She's a talented developer and friendly person. I think she would be a great addition to our team. Could I please get her in contact with you?"
Example Script: "Hi April, I've been working at Super Tech Company for a few months now, and I love it here! Are you still looking for a job? I think you would enjoy it too. Please let me know if you are interested, and I can introduce you to my boss, Ron Swanson."
Some companies only hire referrals and are welcome to meeting anyone you recommend! Of course, this doesn't mean that your referral will get hired, but it puts them in a positive light and bumps them to the front of the line. Please be careful, though, if someone asks for a referral and you don't know them. If they are a jerk or don't actually know much, it could reflect poorly on you.
If and when you get to a point in your new career and you have some extra energy again, you might want to do some volunteering! Everyone likes a volunteer, and it's a great way to stay engaged in the community. Double check with your company's NDA if you are building anything. It's best to stay on the safe side if there is a possible conflict of interest. However, if you are doing something that looks good to the community, it reflects back positively on you, and companies like positive employees!
Here are just some ideas for volunteering:
- Mentor people learning to code
- Moderate a Discord or livestream
- Talk to meetup organizers about outreach, updating websites, editing videos, or other areas you can help
- Maintain or re-design a website for something you are passionate about such as a grassroots organization or a place of worship
- Speak at a meetup or networking group about your experiences
- Work with kids learning to code or interested in tech
You don't have to be an expert to help others out. Obviously you know what you're doing, and your new job title reinforces that! What you really need is to keep up your good attitude! As Maya Angelou said, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
Job hunting is difficult and can be a long process. Career changes are not easy. It took me months of networking, applying, and interviewing before I got hired on. It was worth it, but it also took a toll on my mental, physical, and emotional health. I know I'm not the only person with that experience. That's over now, and I don't think I could ask for a better first full-time tech position! With the job hunt weight off your shoulders, it's time to have fun!
Are there some meetups you have been meaning to check out that you just weren't able to prioritize while you were looking for a new job? Is there something you wanted to try but didn't have the energy? Now is the time to revisit those things! For example, my area has a Toastmasters group that is dedicated to people in tech that I visited once and was not able to go again.
Networking doesn't just have to be tech related. You don't need to be restricted to meeting people in your field. I recently learned there are hiking meetups—time to check that out! Now that I have more free time and less stress, I have more time for hobbies like crafting groups and sailing club! If you prefer to stay home, you could join a Discord for a video game community or virtual game night. Find something that is fun for you that still involves interacting with other people!
You don't know who you will meet or who those people have connections with. I got my foot in the door at my job because I happened to notice my neighbor's shirt had a company logo on it! In the future, you or I could be that neighbor. I hope this post gives you some ideas on how to keep networking even if you aren't looking for a job. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions!