In my opinion, the term Networking is truly misunderstood (and poorly utilized). The word is used so often, it is now just lip service. But I argue, Networking is an art. It deserves one’s committment and one’s dedicated effort to that art.
First things first: Networking is being proactive, not reactive. It is about expanding your circle of influence with friends, family, colleagues, etc and building your resource-base continually. You will reap the fruits of your labour by genuinely and consistently making “deposits” into other’s emotional bank account.
Unfortunately, most people continually make “withdrawals” from this precious emotional account and don’t learn that keeping in touch with people is vital; BUT they learn this when they are vulnerable and ‘alone’ and forced to react (ie they just lost their job or can’t stand their boss).
“Networking doesn’t stop when you have employment. If fact, that is where it begins and continues compounding…”
So what is networking and how can it really help us? Well perhaps the best way to review the term, is to review how it can hinder if one doesn’t work toward it.
Almost all jobs these days are via “word of mouth” – some say as much as 90%! A testimonial about you to a prospective employer instantly puts your name ahead of others.
Tips for BOTH employed/unemployed:
– Start now! Networking compounds (one contact will lead to another and another!). So reach out to old bosses, friends, old colleagues!
– Networking is not only email but also (and more effective methods) the old-fashioned telephone or face to face
– Pay it forward when you’ve been helped. Always.
– Use LinkedIn or some professional group
– When someone leaves your corporation, don’t snub them or think you are better. That thought is myopic, reactive and incorrect. It is only in the moment.
If you haven’t been unemployed, well done. But trust me, your time will likely come. Networking is proactive. It makes the transition from Unemployed to Employed much smoother, faster, and with less stress.
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