Considering that many job openings are never publicly advertised – which takes money, time or both – you may very well be inhibiting your chances of finding that new job if you aren’t consciously managing your personal network. Our entire philosophy is based on problem solving and effective communication. It’s no coincidence that networking is intertwined with both.
Problem Solving: utilizing the resources you have available to achieve the outcome you are trying to effect.
Communication: the successful exchange or sharing of information.
If you think about it, strong “communication” skills allow you to build a significant “personal network” of people that know and like you; problem solving allows you to recognize that those connections are invaluable resources when it’s time for you to learn new information – like what jobs are available right now.
If done properly, networking can be the most impactful effort of your job search. Most people enjoy helping other people, especially if they know them. A few important pointers for people looking to expand their network:
Start growing your network before you need it. You wouldn’t begin building your house after the winter starts and it’s already raining. Building your network is no different, it allows your relationships to grow organically over time. Your connections will trust you more and as such, be more willing to “go out on a limb” for you.
It’s not about me; it’s about we. Where I come from, “networking” has another name: making friends. That said, if you only contacted your “friends” when you needed something from them, how much do you think they’d like you? It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Like all mutually beneficial relationships, it helps if you give before you take. Well, the same goes for networking.
It’s true, most people enjoy helping other people, and they’ll do so happily. But just because someone seems almost eager to help you, do not think that they do not like to be appreciated. If they are trying to help you in any way, be thankful. Emails are OK, but do you want to be OK friend? Go the extra mile and they’ll remember you next time: grab them a box of chocolates or bottle of wine, send them a thank you letter or even just give them a quick call – little things make all the difference.
Start early, help others, and be appreciative. Kinda sounds like something that should be on that “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” poster, doesn’t it?