Your Service and You
Make, keep and nurture contacts
Stacy starts networking simply, then gets organized.
The value of a strong social and professional network is impossible to overestimate, especially in the nonprofit sector. The relationships you build during your term of service can lead you toward opportunities you never knew existed.
Nurturing new contacts, making your professional and social needs known, connecting colleagues with the people who can help them succeedall of these may lead to a successful career transition for you.
These are some people and groups you may naturally come into contact with this year:
- Peers and coworkers
- Program staff
- Organizational partners
- Professional associations
- Local AmeriCorps Alums group
- Civic leaders and clubs
- Media contacts
- Local affiliates of networks that exist elsewhere if you plan to move, like your undergraduate alumni group, and your religious group
- Family, friends, family members of your friends, friends of your family
Successful networking depends a lot on your attitude, your etiquette and your mindset. Take a look at some do's and don'ts for successful networking.
- Serve as a resource for others: let others know about projects, job openings, etc.
- Ask people questions about themselves. By listening you can see how your work might intersect.
- Call or e-mail the contacts you have been referred to; they may be waiting to hear from you.
- Cultivate relationships with people who have and need connections;
- Let people know what you need (a job, donated space for an event, partners)
- Look out for what others need. It's great to help people, and if you help them first, even better.
- Ask people for help with open-ended questions, like "How can we work together?"
- Collect and distribute business cards; make notes on the ones you collect to remember the context or seed of partnership.
- Follow up with meetings and phone calls by sending thank-you notes
- Respect the relationship; if you know someone who is "famous" only send serious inquiries, or people you know very well, to contact them.