Networking is essential to your career as an educator. By building your network of professionals within K-12 education, you increase your “bank account” of people who can help you grow and move forward in the profession. Here are some tips for how to do this:
Meet with someone who has achieved your professional goal. If you know this person, call or email them to seek their advice. If you don’t know someone personally, think about the people in the field whom you admire and who might be open to your request for advice for mentorship and reach out to them.
Serve on a local committee. Committee work may be time intensive but it gives you an opportunity to show others your skills, competencies, leadership style, and your ability to work as a part of a team and tackle problems. Additionally, you expand the list of people who can serve as resources if you are seeking information about a job or if you are seeking professional development opportunities.
Make a connection with HR. Request an informational appointment with the HR office for a school district or organization that you admire. Ask an HR official to explain what the school district or organization considers a strong candidate.
Take courses or workshops through a local college, university of education group. Enrolling in courses not only helps you hone your craft, it also puts you in touch with a new network of education professionals. Your professors or lecturers may have solid connections to school districts and education groups in your area.
Prepare your elevator speech. What is it that you want to share about yourself if you are in the elevator with the superintendent of your dream school district? Prepare a two-minute speech that explains how you are making a mark in the field of education. Also, make sure your resume is fresh so that you can email it at a moment’s notice, should an opportunity arise.
Keep your network organized and warm. Keep up communications with those in your network. Make sure that your check-ins are personalized. For example, ask a professor their thoughts about a new policy trend or congratulate a district administrator on a recent achievement of theirs.