3 Steps to Becoming a Networker

Ask someone who is looking for a job about networking and you get many evasive answers as to whether they do it, how often they do it and how much they rely on it to find opportunities.  Most of the responses I’ve gotten contain the word internet in them. 

At risk of sounding critical or like a luddite, “interneting” is not networking. 

Before the internet, in order to hear of an opportunity to pursue or a contact to connect with, you had to be looking, and listening and being in conversation with people.  So you call someone you know and the conversation goes around in circles.  And then you call the next person and that conversation revolves around the kids.  OK, that didn’t work. So you think this networking stuff is a waste of time and it isn’t going anywhere!

Maybe you need a plan!

 

STEP ONE: Every journey begins with a first step. And the first step is to write down the names of anyone you know, have ever met, who was a neighbor, a colleague, a schoolmate, anyone that would recognize your name.  Keep writing down names and then set it aside.  Go back to it and add more when you think of someone else.

STEP TWO:  If you aren’t clear about what you want for a job or position then this is the time to get clear about what you want to explore.  What industry, what career, what type of job where you could build a bridge from where you are now using your talents, skills, or experience as some of the building materials.  

STEP THREE: Commit to call 1 or 2 or 3 people per day.  Let’s acknowledge up front that the people on your list probably don’t know anything about what you want to explore.  BUT, you don’t know who knows whom.  If you eliminate someone, you eliminate possibilities. You cannot predetermine who is the right person to network with and who is not the right person!  When you start deciding for other people, you probably won’t make good decisions.  Have you ever decided NO for someone and then found out that they had decided YES?  And you never asked them. So don’t bother to decide things for other people!

 

ASK the Question: Do they know of anyone you might be able to spend 30 minutes talking to you about this specific topic? 

They may know someone. They may know someone who may know someone.  They may be that someone.  That question will lead somewhere.  Listen for opportunities.  And listen for opportunities to provide something for them as well. 

This is a process.  Being in the process creates it own results.  The process is not guessing which person is going to have the answer for you and then calling them. The process is about connecting with people, and getting reconnected with people around the central theme of your creating a new future for yourself.  People love to connect with others and make a contribution.  And they also want to hear about your successes so stay connected and keep them informed!  

Who are you going to call today?  Be unreasonable and call 3 people you haven’t spoken with in a long time.  Ask then “the question” and share you results here!


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