By Erika Stallings • November 23, 2019•Writers in Residence
Build real relationships. I put an emphasis on relationships because we currently live in a culture that repeatedly exhorts people to network. But it’s easy to go to an event and collect business cards. It’s another thing to building a relationship with another person. This does require time and energy, along with the willingness to be vulnerable and curious about the person you’re trying to build a relationship with. In a busy profession such as the law that may seem daunting. But I can attest from first hand experience that the investment is worth it.
In the fall of 2017 I was unexpectedly laid off from my position at a mid-size law firm. In order to avoid having a gap on my resume, I needed to find a position before January 2018, something that would be a challenge while law firms were bringing on first year associates and corporations were slowing down hiring during the holiday season. I was fortunate to have spent time building relationships with several senior individuals in the legal industry who were able to advise me on next steps. They offered a shoulder to cry on, edited my resume and also recommended me to hiring managers. In fact, my current position is solely due to a recommendation I received from a mentor that I had been building a relationship with since 2012.
You may be asking, how do I go about relationship building? As I mentioned earlier, it takes some curiosity in the other party. Ask about their kids, where they went to school, what they do outside of work. This is an easy way to find common ground to build on. You should also set quarterly or monthly calendar alerts to reach out, even if it’s just to check in or to send an article that you think may be of interest. I can promise that a thirty minute investment now a few times a year will pay significant dividends in the future.