7 Steps To Developing A Strong Network In Case You Get Fired

What’s the first thing you would do if you were fired? Punch your boss? Cry like a baby? Throw a party?
Financial blogger Brandt Smith at Get Rich Slowly suggests that your first step should be to contact your network, and he backs up his assertion with a real-life success story. He also shares seven keys to developing a strong network:

#1: Build it before you need it
#2: You must make a deposit before you have the right to withdraw
#3: Give more than you receive
#4: Be open and genuine
#5: Follow up and stay in touch
#6: The devil is in the details
#7: Your network doesn’t end with your contact

Using these principles, the writer had two job offers within a week of being fired. Within two weeks he had settled on one of them — ending up with a promotion from a better company despite the hard economic times.

His take: developing a solid network offers wonderful job security.

What’s your take?

Network Your Way to Job Security [Get Rich Slowly]



Edit Your Comment

  1. snoop-blog says:

    I prefer option 3: Throw a party! Nothing eases the pain temporarily like a tall cold beer.

  2. mighty_squid says:

    Worked for me although not as quickly. The one time I was “let go” I got a new job within 2 months purely based my professional network of people I had worked with or went to school with. I didn’t even look for the job it was given based on my past performance and my former co-workers reputation.

    It’s hard to keep up though. Social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn help though.

  3. snoop-blog says:

    It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

  4. thesadtomato says:

    LinkedIn seems somewhat useful. Job opportunities (freelance gigs) through networking only works for me if I’m actually friends, that is, have socialized with, the person who’s passing along a job or putting in a good word for me. Asking former employers and colleagues for the LinkedIn reccomendation could be helpful, if didn’t find it a little tacky.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    I landed jobs at two highly successful startups all from the people I met at my first job. For the better part of two years former coworkers from that first company would get together for dinner on a monthly basis. I still keep in touch with some of those coworkers 15 years later, as well as folks I’ve met at more recent jobs. As a developer & sysadmin who preferred smaller companies for a long time I’ve jumped among 8 jobs in the past 18 years, and all but two of them were through contacts made at prior companies.

  6. annelise13 says:

    I highly recommend networking. Using my network, I had a new job two weeks after getting laid off late last year. It was mostly a lateral move for me, but I considered myself quite lucky in these hard times to get it!

  7. datapants says:

    Networking is how I’ve gotten all my jobs for the past 16 years, and it really saved me a few years ago when an offer on a new job fell through at the last minute. I’d already quit my job after giving several weeks’ notice and was ready to start working for a small consultancy, when the guy tells me _via email_ that he changed his mind and doesn’t have enough work lined up to bring me on. I freaked out for a bit, but I called just one friend, and he quickly connected me with a colleague of his who had way more side work than he could handle. Within three days of losing a job I hadn’t even started, I was on a plane to start work with my first client.

  8. JN2 says:

    As a graphic designer, we are used to being tossed to the wolves when things slow down for a company (never figured out why marketing is cut when sales are slowing, but you know, whatever). Despite having all the knowledge and experience one could need to be competent, I have rarely gotten in to even have an interview without someone I know personally introducing me first. Frustrating to be sure but that’s the way it goes in the real world.

  9. Shark1998 says:

    Funny you should mention that…..I was actually fired from a IT Contracting company (due to them losing the contract) one Morning and in the same day had a firm offer from another competing company all because I knew some folks.

    Ofcourse I owed them a beer for that, but it was worth the $5.00 expense.

  10. maneki neko says:

    Almost everyone I know, including myself, has gained their job through their connections.

    I wonder if my generation (what are we called again? Generation Y?) and after will have a leg up in the working world? We practically live on social network sites like Facebook, and thus are getting good at maintaining extensive networks.

  11. MissPeacock says:

    I’ve fortunately never been fired, but I think it’s a good idea to remember that you should never burn bridges. When I quit my last job, it was so tempting to really lay into my boss and my general hatred of the company during my exit interview with HR. However, I thought about it a bit more and decided that at some point in the future, I may be desperate for a job and need to come back to the company (albeit in a different department). Some of my former coworkers gave really scathing exit interviews, and judging from how they were spoken of via management after they were gone, I know they would never, ever be hired there again no matter what.

  12. I’ve been with the same company for pretty much my entire professional life. Oh I worked the odd crap job here and there, but then at 25 life took a turn. Some personal friends who worked for the company got me an interview and a few weeks later I was hired.

    Since then I’ve slowly realized the power of a good network. Any time I hear of anyone looking for work, or looking for a worker I think of anything I know that might fit the need. I also work in a technology field, and have several former co-workers who are in a position to need my help with information occasionally. I make it a point to always be available for questions, and give them as much as I can without violating my company policy.

    They have made it very clear that if I start looking to move careers they better not hear it from anyone besides me :)

  13. snowburnt says:

    I got my first job through connections…after that craigs list

  14. Jabberkaty says:

    I don’t know if it was networking per se, but when my position was eliminated at the last place I worked, the people who had recently left to start their own business called me to work for them.

    I didn’t actively network with them, but I worked with them and they knew who I was. I could chalk it up to divine intervention.

  15. Drowner says:

    This guy makes it sound like networking is some kind of burdensome extra task. You network all the time. Your friends are a network! You know that friend of a friend who will let you use his truck for moving purposes provided you just pay him for gas?

  16. B says:

    @snoop-blog: Beer! Now there’s a temporary solution.

  17. jglessner says:

    I agree that network connections can help you out in a time of stress. I recently had a very good friend get laid off, and was able to give him two lucrative consulting clients the next week.

    Would I do that for someone that I hardly know? Probably not. This particular person was my second in command at my last job, and he’s helped me plenty of times so I have no qualms in tossing him some side work.

  18. wiaontha says:

    @snoop-blog: Not quite. It’s not what you know, and it’s not who you know, it’s who you know *who*knows*what*you*know.

  19. elsifer says:

    There are only a few jobs I’ve gotten on my own, without a good word from a friend – and they were my first jobs out of high school. I like to brag that ever since I got out of college, I’ve only sent one resume.

    I even found a job for a co-worker that didn’t know he was looking. I got contacted by an old colleague that was looking for someone to fill a position. I wasn’t interested, but I knew my co-worker was unhappy in his job – and he was a better fit. It was a perfect match!

  20. snoop-blog says:

    @wiaontha: touche!

  21. picardia says:

    I actually got all but my first job “cold,” but if I were fired tomorrow, I’d know some places to turn — both old professional contacts and friends who would have some good advice. You really can’t afford NOT to network.

  22. Refer as many friends as you can. It’s good to have your people doing well. You may need them one day.

  23. tedyc03 says:

    I freelance on the side (programming) so I have some supplementary income and a backup plan. I could freelance full time if I wanted. My response? Shrug, cut the spending to bare minimum, polish up the resume and tweet about it. I’ll have a job soon.

  24. bohemian says:

    There is a difference between a natural network of people you know through friendships or work vs. the contrived networking ideas you hear from career experts.

    Going to networking events makes most people uncomfortable and generally are less likely to get you any leads. The same goes for local professional organizations.

    Coworkers that you got along with or became friends with, other friends in the same line of work, friends of friends or the bunch of people you hang around with most are way better potential resources.

  25. Caprica Six says:

    yea, it’s networking or craigslist. I heart craigslist as that has always been my source of jobs whenever I get laid off. It’s crazy how somehow most of us seem to have gotten laid off or know someone who has gotten laid off….

  26. inboulder1 says:

    Or you could just learn to code, pretty much instant job. Yeah I know, programming’s hard.

  27. @bohemian: I couldn’t have said it better. I absolutely loathe the word “networking” because it only conjures images of stiffs in suits competing over who has the firmer handshake. I agree that your so-called “natural network” of true friends is the far better option.

  28. powerball says:

    I use linkedin and went searching and found some co-workers from years past. Guys I used to be friendly with and join for beers, but because we stopped working together, we lost touch. Also found some old buddies from school. I think its helpful, I’m in the market for a new job and some of the old contacts I resurected have turned out to be helpful in my search.

  29. Jevia says:

    Good to hear networking works for some people, it never worked for me. Maybe its my line of work where people are more competitive, but it seems like when I thought I had made friends through work and kept in touch, when I tried to get some job hunting help, I heard nothing but crickets. its one thing to be told, ‘sorry I can’t help’ or ‘sorry I don’t know of anything’ its another to outright ignored. But finally landed a job on my own.

  30. Hyperdramatic says:

    I just got fired about four weeks ago. This has totally worked for me, but I didn’t really characterize as what I did as ‘networking’. I called up all of my friends and told them what happened and told them to keep an eye out for openings. Then I asked about companies that I thought were interesting and if they had any connections to hook me up.

    What worked really well was a specific request for introductions to a company or a specific job brief as to what I was looking for. The ‘oh can you let me know if something comes up’ didn’t work as well.

    Everyone was really responsive and I just had my first day on the job at a new place that is 1000x more interesting that my old job!

  31. J.D. Roth says:

    Just to clarify: I didn’t write the post about networking — it was graciously provided by another writer. But I think his advice is excellent!

  32. joexmd says:

    Which network is better, ABC, NBC, or CBS?

  33. nsv says:

    I network, and I keep my network familiar with my odd collection of skills. I’ve been told that if I were fired, I’d have a job as a forklift operator the next day. It’s not my dream job but it would pay the rent for a while. I’ll just keep that in my back pocket in case I need it.

  34. SinA says:

    JD Roth, host of the 80’s gameshow “Fun House” is a financial blogger?

  35. u1itn0w2day says:

    As much as I can’t stand people who spend more time smoozing I guess you almost have to do it.Personally I just ask someone who I work with for reference,it’s usually somebody I get along with anyway.

    Problem is though that while networking is good for one person it’s bad for another.Did you ever wonder how the heck somebody got in their current position???

    And that’s the main problem with networking,someone is doing someone a favor-not the employer or employees.What ever happend to extra courses,degree completion or just working any job for pay.As long as I can tolerate a job and/or people I’ll take it.

    Although just because you have a degree or certificate does not mean you’re the best candidate either.

    I think misspeacock had the other best suggestion:don’t burn bridges.

  36. Wealth-and-Wisdom says:

    @JD-Thanks for clarifying the post ownership. It was great to have my article (yes, I’m the mystery writer) on your site and cool to see it hit the Consumerist!

    @bohemian-I’ve seen the networking events and for the most part they are a waste of time. A lot of people hanging out with friends they already know. My best success is to make deep and sincere relationships with the people I naturally deal with daily. Suppliers, coworkers, and customers are my best network.

    @u1itn0w2day-If you’re smoozing you aren’t networking. And you never are asking someone to do you a favor that isn’t in their best interest. For example, if someone comes to me asking me to refer them on a job I will only tell the truth. I won’t refer them if it will impact my reputation. Likewise I won’t ask someone to do it.

    As for degrees and other credentials, they make it easier. My eng degree makes it easy for my eng friends to help. My great reputation for quality and hard work make it easy to recommend me for a job.

  37. onesix18 says:

    True, every bit of it. Every job I’ve had so far has been a direct result of my network; one thing has led to the next, better thing. It’s so much better than a cold search.

  38. AskTheAdmin says:

    Hey guys who wants to give their buddy AskTheAdmin a 6 figure job. Would like a big chested secretary but will settle for the salary and paid mocachinos daily.

    Thanks :)

  39. SQLGuru says:

    Networks are extremely important, even without being fired (just more-so when you are out of work than when you have a job). Every job I’ve had except for my very first (bus boy at a diner while in high school) was obtained because I knew somebody. Whether it was at a different company or within the same company, a large network with no burned bridges will give you plenty of options whenever you need to change jobs.

  40. so if I end up getting laid off, I can rely on all of the commenters on the consumerist to help me out, right fellas?

  41. mr mike says:

    I did this exact thing and had a BETTER job by mid afternoon the same day I was fired.

  42. A little off subject I know, but I’m curious. What program generated the graphic used on the post above? Does anyone know?

  43. mwilliams3609 says:

    Well, I’ll look here when I get let go at the end of the year due to my company losing the contract that I work on. So, anyone want to hire someone with an insane amount of knowledge in health insurance?

  44. Shoeb Ahmed says:

    @snoop-blog: Not really.
    It’s who knows you.