Everyone says that networking is the best way to get a job. And they’re right.
Most senior jobs go very quickly by word of mouth across business relationships based on respect and friendship.
These relationships exist and flourish simply because they help both participants. The best ones are old and reek of trust.
Effective networking has a few very basic principles.
Networking, like friendship, is a two-way street. As that great American, Don Vito Corleone said, “I believe in friendship. And I am not afraid to show my friendship first.” Starting out looking to help rather than to get and you will get in the end.
Extending your network
What doesn’t grow shrinks. Networks atrophy as people move and change their interests. To keep yours growing try to set a quota for new members on a weekly basis. Don’t set the quality bar too high – very often an apparently boring or seeming minor-league person can introduce you to a real rainmaker.
Rainmakers – quality trumps quantity
While growing your network is a numbers game, benefiting from it is not. There are always going to be a few people who stand out: they have the best connections, they are the quickest to offer to help, and their helps actually works. Since it’s never easy to identify these people in advance, treat everyone with equal respect. These connections, if nurtured, can make a difference for you.
Systematic and Tracked
Keep a spreadsheet of when you send messages to everyone in the network (sometimes you can get the same result if your sent email is very well arranged…). The idea is to keep a frequency counter so that no one remains un-messaged for over six months, and no one gets bombarded with more than a few messages each quarter at most. Depending on the size of your network and the quality of your emery, it may be useful to enter a word or two of context next to each contact report, such as “Okemo job” or “referral from Andrew”.