A timeless African proverb goes like this: ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ This simple wisdom is true for your career too. Whether you are in job-search mode or happily employed in your current tech position, nurturing your “career village” is essential.
What is a “career village”? It’s a network of support that spans from both your personal and professional contacts. It’s comprised of former managers and colleagues, LinkedIn contacts, recruiters, mentors, and professional membership organizations.
Like a child’s village, each member of your “career village” plays a unique role. There are teachers who challenge you. Advocates who encourage you. Guides who help you navigate your journey. Supporters who lift you up. Leaders who inspire action. And champions who see the best in you, even when you don’t. On good days, your “career village” is ready with a high-five. On challenging days, your village offers a sturdy shoulder and a willing ear.
Okay. Now let’s focus on your personal “career village.” Where is it thriving? Where does it need some nurturing? Here are five easy steps to help you invigorate this vital community.
Step 1: Identify who is in your village
Make a list of the inhabitants. Who do you know already? Think of all the people who have helped you get to where you are today: your cheerleaders, your advocates, your friends, your connections.
Step 2: Find the weak links
Who have you lost touch with? Who could you know better? Who is valuable and needs more interaction and cultivation?
Step 3: Consider who is missing
Make a list of who else you need in your village to bridge any gaps. Be thoughtful and deliberate. What skills do you need to develop? What organizations are you trying to access? Where can you meet these new contacts? How can you get to know them?
Step 4: Strengthen the village
Prioritize building those parts of your village with micro-outreaches. Try a simple LinkedIn ping. Email an old peer. Invite them to a quick Zoom call. Share an article that might be of interest or forward the news about a mutual contact.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
Keep at it. You will be astonished at how things add up over time when you take those small actions continually.
The time to start is now. Make it a point to cultivate and build your “career village” today. Now, more than ever, this community is vital to enhancing your tech career and developing your talent. Don’t wait until you need support from your village. If you do it now, it will be there when you need it. For more insightful tips on cultivating your network and building your best career, be sure to check out my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook.