When I was working in corporate America, I was terrible at checking for information and messages on LinkedIn. In fact, I didn’t take the time I should have to network with friends, peers and coworkers. Are you guilty of the same mistake?

In my case I felt guilty when I finally did see the numerous messages to me on LinkedIn. There were people out of work looking for help and support. There were others who just wanted to say hello. I wonder what they thought of the fact that I never responded? Certainly in my time of need they would be slow to respond or may not respond at all because they felt like I ignored them. If I did reach out to them would they feel like I only wanted to talk to them because I needed something?

I think this is a common story whether we are talking about LinkedIn or any form of networking. When we are not actively staying in touch with our professional network, we are missing an opportunity to grow professionally and establish our own team of people who can help us throughout our career. Most importantly, we are missing opportunities to assist other people.

A few of the most common excuses for failing to network include feeling like we have no time because we are too busy. We also get lulled into believing that our job and career are secure and we really don’t need to network. As I have learned that is a big mistake! While we may be in charge of our career, the company we work for controls our job. There are very few people who spend their entire career with one company.

Why wait to start networking? Start now! Make the time to do it. In fact schedule an hour a week on your calendar for networking. Stay active on social media, especially LinkedIn. Consistently check in with members of your network. Let them know you are thinking about them.

There are certainly many articles and books available to read on how to effectively network. The most important principle is to just do it. It will not only help you but even more importantly it will give you the opportunity to help others. Giving back to other people is the ultimate form of building good will so if you do ever need help, your network will be there for you!

If you would like more information about effective networking, please reach out to me at [email protected].