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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

Networking for Your Career

It's hard to actually put a specific value on networking, and I've been skeptical of it in the past. However as I've learned a bit more from Andy Warren's investigations into the process, and I've thought about my career, I think it works. I'm not sure I've gotten a lot of financial value out of it, but I think that I have gotten some things.

Let me give you an example. I hear about jobs all the time, and surprisingly, many of them are not because I run SQLServerCentral. Quite a few come from recruiters who are trying to get me to take a new job so they can get paid. No problem in that, but I have the best job in the world, so I typically don't respond. However I do see jobs in places where I have friends, and I've forwarded them on. I know at least a couple of people have gotten work from those postings, and I've at least gotten some goodwill.

This November, at the PASS Summit, Don Gabor is putting on a networking session, actually a few of them, to teach people about networking. I'll be attending the Networking to Build Business Contacts to see if I can learn anything. It's $60, and if I learn something that gets me one hour of work, one tech editing contract, it will have been worth it.

Most of us are geeks, not naturally outgoing, or even if we are, not necessarily driven to use that to further our careers. This didn't seem like a great idea when I first heard of it, but I've become more convinced as I've talked to Andy about it, and I realize this is the type of non-technical skill, a communication skill, that many of us sorely need.

Space is limited, but if you want to build your career in more ways than just technically, I'd urge you to think about it. And please stop me and say "hi" at anytime during the PASS conference if you attend.

Comments

Posted by Alex Rosa on 10 August 2009

I agree with you.

I figure out Networking is very important when I needed to looking for a new job some years ago.

I talked to my Networking contacts and I was hired again in 2 days. Since this moment I try to keep in touch with them regularly to help each other.

Posted by Steve Jones on 11 August 2009

And grow them. glad it worked for you, but it's also good if you can grow your contacts a bit more. You don't need to double them, but adding 10-20% more contacts you network with means that many more good chances to help yourself or others.

Posted by Don Gabor on 12 August 2009

My recommendation for those attending the PASS Summit is to use networking in several ways throughout the entire conference. For example, at breakfast, the opening session or at any event you can:

* meet industry and organization leaders.

* share your professional knowledge and experience with others.

* build a network of professional contacts who call upon one another for solutions, feedback, referrals, and more.

* find strategic partners for new projects.

* learn about new products and services.

* learn about industry trends.

Will you get a lot of financial value from making these contacts? If the knowledge you gleam from these encounters helps you and others: 1) save time; 2) increase productivity; 3) decrease waste; and 4) increase profit, then the answer is probably yes.

The fact is that most new business relationships begin with a conversation in a networking situation, such as an industry conference or meeting. What happens next is usually based on that initial exchange. If the people found their conversation mutually beneficial in some way, then their professional relationship is off to a good start.

BTW, Steve, thanks for recommending my networking workshop at the PASS Summit. I'm looking forward to meeting you and your colleagues.

Posted by tiffany.johnston on 13 August 2009

Steve,

I went to your session at the Baton Rouge SqlSaturday17 event on The Modern Resume.  I found it very helpful, and have decided to try to start "putting myself out there."  I've put a toe in the water with a FaceBook page, and plan to start blogging (somewhere!) soon.  Thanks for all the free tips and advice.  I always enjoy your editorials, and found your session useful.  

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