The practice search process is not a once and done or every 5 – 10 years process. It is an ongoing process as often the best practice opportunities are those that go unadvertised and which you only hear about through networking. Therefore, it is vital to network on a daily basis.
If you find networking hard to fit into your schedule, schedule it just as you would any other activity. Make a list of all of your professional colleagues and then schedule a person a day, give or take, based on how many colleagues you have and contact them.
Of course, you want to be at the top of your form when talking with your colleague so you should be prepared with discussion points and use the opportunity to promote yourself concisely.
Networking should have an easy flow about it with a good give and take between you and your colleague. Consider preparing some questions to ask to facilitate an easy conversation.
Networking is a two-way street so just as you’re looking for a continued connection with your colleague, he/she may have the same agenda so be prepared to help him/her just as you may want help now or in the future.
This is one activity in the practice search process which doesn’t involve discussion of the same. Instead, it is an opportunity to dialogue with colleagues so that they are mindful of you if and when a practice opportunity may arise with them. Of course, if work happens to come up in the discussion then this is the perfect opportunity to learn as much as possible as you can about it.
Another non-direct outcome of networking is the possibility of references. The more you stay in touch with your colleagues, the more apt they are to be willing to provide a reference and to provide a good reference.
Take too much of your colleagues’ time unless he/she engages in a good back and forth conversation with you.
Don’t be conceited when discussing your abilities and certainly be honest with your skills.
Don’t just focus on your side of the conversation. You should be listening as much as you’re talking.