If you lost your job tomorrow, or if changes in your workplace made your job unpleasant, do you have what it takes to secure a better position? To get the job you want, you need both qualifications and contacts. By focusing on your work-related relationships, you can a pool of supportive connections that can greatly increase your ability to move jobs.

The most common way for Hong Kong people to secure their career futures is to study. This strategy makes sense. One of Hong Kong’s greatest assets is having people who value continuing education and who spend a lot of time upgrading themselves. However,more credentials and qualifications are not the only way, or even the best way to secure your career future. Your latest studies make up only one line of your resume, and yet studying consumes a lot of time and energy. Is there a more effective way to use this time?

One of the most important investments you can make for a solid career future is in relationships. When times are tough, good relationships will help you more than anything else to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. That’s because the quality of the relationships you form throughout your career are a good measure of your quality and value as a person. And when anyone makes the decision to hire someone, they are hiring a human being, not a set of credentials. A friend of mine likes to say “All business is people business,” meaning that you should never underestimate the importance of human connections in doing business of every kind.

There are several specific ways that strong relationships can help you to secure your career future. First of all they are living proof of your integrity and interpersonal skills.They can provide you with inside information into organizations when you are seeking a move. They can be a source of referrals to new job opportunities or new business connections. They can provide you with feedback to help you understand what you might be doing wrong. They can also give you moral support and encouragement when you need it.

Strong relationships are formed through small investments over a long period of time. There are many small steps you can take on a daily basis to make the most of your relationships. For example, you can spend a few minutes every day talking to people in your workplace. Get to know them personally and allow them to know you. Keep in touch with former classmates, colleagues and family friends that interest you. Pay particular attention to the people you like and respect, rather than those in powerful positions. The people you respect most are more likely to share your values and thereby make recommendations or referrals that are useful to you. Be approachable and helpful when people contact you seeking advice or friendship.

With so many excellent online networking services readily available, you can easily keep in touch with larger numbers of people. Facebook and Linked-In are two good examples for online networking tools that can efficiently keep you in touch with former colleagues. However, having a smaller group of quality relationships is more important than having thousands of people in your network connections.

Social, charitable or business meetings are also excellent opportunities to build useful relationships. You can take part in reunions and get-togethers or initiate your own gatherings to bring together people you respect to discuss topics of mutual interest.

Simply by being friendly, open and generous to people that interest you, you are building a foundation of relationships that can help to secure your career future.

Photo Credit: Yulia Vambold

Angela Spaxman
Angela Spaxman
Career and Leadership Coach , Loving Your Work
Angela Spaxman is one of Hong Kong’s leading experts in professional coaching. She is a highly effective and experienced executive coach, career coach, corporate facilitator and trainer. Angela’s leadership experiences, her decades of personal development, her well-grounded confidence and her natural curiosity give her great insight into how to manage, motivate and lead people to be at their best.