Networking is the secret to getting a job. They say 1/3 of all jobs come from people we know, 1/3 are only advertised inside companies and 1/3 are from standard job advertisements.
Forget loyalty. Or at least loyalty to one’s corporation. Try loyalty to your Rolodex—your network—instead.
- Tom Peters
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Benjamin Franklin
1. We hate to network. Maybe it is because some of us are shy people, subscribing to Sartre's idea of 'hell is other people'. Some of us are lazy. We see our colleagues being more enthused about networking than doing the actual work itself, and thriving from networking, which sort of disgusts us. We fail to see networking as 'people helping each other our'. Some of us are just lazy. We want to do our daily work, go home and just, whatever.
We would all take career networking to be more serious when we find out its value in getting us a job. Sadly, and research support this, most people don’t work nearly as hard as they could at finding a job, unless they absolutely need a job right now, when there is no more money in the bank.
Thus, the important rule about networking: Develop relationships before you need a job.
2. The six key benefits of networking: (this list will help you to broaden the variety of people in you 'useful contacts list)
Political support and influence
Personal support and energy
A sense of purpose or worth
(Source: Cross and Thomas)
3. The prep work for networking:
Make a List of Your Strong Points? Special skills and abilities? Rewards? Reputation? (along with proof) Any unique knowledge you have. Your experiences that others will find valuable.
Make the 'to meet' list: Organizations, events, people, organizations/companies (e.g. recruiters). The list will contain entries from online and offline sources- from Linkedin and online groups to offline professional associations)- You will not meet all these at one, but over a period of time, (some people make it a point to meet at least one useful person each day) and all the time your 'to meet' list will expand, resulting in another 'useful contacts' list.
4. Two types of people useful to have in your 'useful contacts' list:
1. People who can directly help you: Family, friends, 'old school' network
2. The gatekeepers: Recruiters- basically everyone who 'knows people who...'. They say we’re all only five handshakes away from anyone in the world.
5. A sample networking tracker (Write on paper, or create a sheet on Google docs), or an ongoing draft in your email.)
Name Email Phone Company Website How We Met To-Do? (Next steps for reaching out) Date of last contact
6. Never network from a position of weakness, but from a position of strength. This means having something of value to offer others, so that they don’t see you as an annoyance.
7. Have an elevator pitch ready for quick introductions, something that presents you as a useful person.
8. Say 'Thank you' a lot. We tend to help more those who appreciate our help.
9. When requesting something, be specific and to-the-point. For example, say, “I’d like 30 minutes of your time, and then stick to it.
10. The 'Give and take': It helps create a mutually useful long-term relationship. Ask yourself, “What can I offer this person? “How can I be of help?. This way of thinking will help you be a natural at professional networking.
More people will want to know you when they know you are well connected and that you have good resources.
11. Do periodic 'useful contacts' list gardening: Edit, add new contacts and so on- Do it on the last day of every month, at least
12. Follow-up is very important: You made the first approach. But, now you forgot to follow up, keep your commitment, or maybe, some other person helped you out. In any case, you have to get back to people you reached out to, give details, at least say 'thank you'. Or else, they will think you lack sincerity and commitment. Your credibility gets a hit.
13. The golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Thank you for reading.
This guide is from The Success Manual, which contains 200+ guides to succeeding in business, career and personal life. Get the pdf ebook for $12 only.