Philip Cao

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Networking in an Increasingly Stable Environment

4 min read


The economy continues to improve, at least from an audit and IT audit perspective. Between 2011 and now, the job market strengthened significantly. Five years ago, within 48 hours of posting a job through search sites, I would have 5-15 viable candidates. Usually I never had to post on job search sites; someone in my professional network would ping me with interest. Now, I will post on searches and barely get a handful of candidates after a month. The economy has improved; maybe not to early 2000 numbers, but the market is doing very well.

The good job market can lull people into a networking slumber. When the recession hit 7+ years ago, I heard many candidates say, “I never thought I would be in this situation; I wish I had kept up with my network.” Every job market is cyclical, and you do not know when you might need to tap into your network, regardless of your field.

Networking Activities

Professional Associations:  Stay involved in all professional associations relevant to your career. It may be difficult to attend every meeting, but choose a few that pique your interest, put them on your calendar and commit to paying your membership. Additionally, take advantage of volunteer opportunities.

Key Contacts:  Schedule at least two business lunches/coffees per week, to keep in touch with the contacts most relevant to your success. Connect with that group at least twice a year.

Recruiters:  Do not ignore calls from executive recruiters. Good recruiters want to establish a relationship with you, regardless if you are looking or not. Pick a handful of recruiters you trust and stay abreast of the job market.

LinkedIn:  This is easily discounted when you are comfortable in your job. Staying active on LinkedIn expands your network and keeps you connected with professional contacts. Do this twice a day—put it on your calendar for 10 minutes first thing in the morning and 10 minutes after lunch.

  • LinkedIn Optimization
    LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. If you are not on LinkedIn, your relevancy is minimized to everyone but your current role. Every professional must have a LinkedIn profile, know how to use it and understand how to optimize its effectiveness. Here are a few LinkedIn tips
  • What Is LinkedIn for?
    LinkedIn enables users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues, potential employers and business partners. However, many users make LinkedIn personal, including birth announcements, surgery updates, marriage announcements, etc. Keep LinkedIn business-related and professional, which can be a fine line. Remember, the more professional you keep it, the less unprofessional you can look.
  • Professional Email Address
    Many people use a personal address as their main contact email, which is acceptable. However, people do not realize how unprofessional their email address may be. Unprofessional email addresses I’ve seen on Linkedin include transam2002, joshistheman and rocketsfan2661. As a recruiter, this is something I always look at. If someone cannot determine if their email address is unprofessional, I tend to scrutinize their profile in much more detail.
  • Customize Your Profile URL
    When my kids were born, I bought their namesake web sites and created their personal emails. At the time I thought it was a good idea, but as the kids have gotten old enough to use email, this has become a wonderful idea. The kids really like having a simple email address. The same is true for your LinkedIn URL. If you don’t have a profile, go claim it. If you do, make sure your URL is personalized and clean, like this: is a wonderful social networking tool, even for introverts. Go claim your profile and start with the above steps.

All of these networking activities can expand your network and help you stay in touch with your industry. Remember:  you don’t want to ever have to say “I wish I would have….”

Danny Goldberg, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC, is founder of GoldSRD, a provider of high-quality, interactive internal audit training. Goldberg will present a free webinar titled, Becoming the Boss: 10 Key Steps for Advancing to Executive Management, 11AM (CDT), Thursday, 19 May. Sign up here.

Danny Goldberg, CISA, CGEIT, CRISC, founder, GoldSRD

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