You develop your social network by meeting people and keeping in touch with them over time. One advantage of having a strong social network is that you can keep your associates informed about changes in your career as they're happening. As you spread the news, the people in your network, especially professional contacts, can provide timely advice or help finding the resources you need.
You can keep your social network informed in a variety of ways. Start by socializing at a professional function or a casual watercooler conversation in the office. Another way to keep your network up to date is to make brief phone calls to people you know and invite input on your new career move. Online, this translates to updates to your professional Web sites and social networking Web sites, plus e-mail messages to your contacts there. Even Twitter can help you get the word out, and may even help land interviews if you're looking for something new [source: MyJobGroup.co.uk].
There are, however, some potential downsides to keeping your social network informed about your career moves. One downside is that if you start openly seeking a new job before leaving your current one, the message may get back to your current employer and put your job at risk. Another downside to posting something online is that you might reveal information that's confidential to your current employer, putting you in violation of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which could get you fired or even put in jail. Choose your words carefully when speaking about current and past jobs to prevent these and other potential pitfalls.
The next page reveals how your social network can also inspire you to look at new paths.