Networking in a Way that Counts


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We all know that networking is important when it comes to advancement in ones career. It’s advice that has been given and passed down for as long as most of us have been in the workforce.

Network. Network. Network.

But what is often missing in that advice is tips for how to network effectively. Because it isn’t enough to just hand out and collect cards, waiting until you have favors you need to call in. If you want to network in a way that actually pays off, you have to make a deeper commitment than that.

 

Give More Than You Hope to Receive

People who struggle the most with networking are those who go into it thinking only of what they have to gain. The truth is, most people can see right through disingenuous networking attempts; they know if you are only talking to them because you want an “in” at their corporation. So if you want networking to actually work for you, you have to be willing to give a little as well – often to give more than you hope to get back. Be the type of person people want to network with. Make introductions to others within your circle, think of people you have networked with in the past when you hear about openings at your own corporation, and be an asset to those who reach out to you. Do all of this, even when you don’t know where a networking relationship may lead. Because the more you give, the more likely others are going to be willing to help when you need to fall back on your networking circle.

 

Be Genuine With the Contacts You Already Have

Instead of pushing forward in a constant drive to make new networking contacts, adopt a philosophy of quality over quantity and spend time genuinely nurturing the networking connections you already have. If new networking opportunities come up, you should absolutely embrace them, but otherwise – turn your focus towards building the relationships you’ve got today. Because having a handful of deeper connections will almost always prove more beneficial than having a plethora of shallow networking contacts.

 

Pass Along News

One way to keep those networking connections alive is to pass along news, either about the industry or company openings, which you think might be beneficial to others within your network. Whenever possible, personalize those bits of information – sending a few separate e-mails, if you must, so that each person you tell about an opening you just heard about will feel as though you have personally gone out of your way to think of them. And when you come across a bit of news that seems applicable to several different members of your networking circle, use that as an opportunity to make introductions – letting everyone on an e-mail thread know that you are sending this news to them because you are all in the same industry, or have a similar interest in what is being discussed.

 

Don’t Look for Shortcuts

Again, simply going out and asking for cards is not what networking is all about. Like all relationships, networking contacts take time to build and nurture. Go into these connections knowing that, and be willing to put in the time and effort to make those connections valuable. There is no shortcut to networking, and no way to simply cherry pick those who may be able to help you years down the line. You can’t see the future, and you don’t know which contacts may be best able to help you out later on. So instead of waiting until you need that help, and then trying to rush those connections with people in a position to provide it, cast a wider net earlier on and focus on taking the time to build up those networking relationships with those that bite before you need the help.

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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