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How To Be A Networker Whom Everybody Loves

What can you offer to your contacts?

  • You can offer information & news about industries and professional associations, organizations. Trends, opportunities & challenges and how other organizations are dealing with change. Especially what the company’s competitors are doing.

  • You can offer information & news about people in those organizations. Search on the internet about people & executives in other organizations. However, be judicious in what you say since nobody trusts people who bad mouth other people or spread rumours & gossip.

Examples of what you can offer to your contact:

  • A DBA can share new tuning methodologies
  • A teacher can talk about teaching approaches used in high performing schools around the world
  • a sales person may have a passionate interest in a CRM solution which makes his job easier
  • A manager may share new insights into leadership theorie

Do not make these three networking mistakes!

  1. Do not focus on job openings and on getting hired.
    Focus on information about organizations in your target list, insiders, decision makers and hiring managers.

    Remember that unless you help them understand your goals, most people will assume that the only useful information is who has a job opening right now. And, the conversation becomes uncomfortable even if you are talking to people who genuinely want to help you.

    Even with a close friend never start by asking about “job openings” or “who is hiring now”. These topics will poison the whole “information exchange session”.

  2. Do not ask for favors.
    Be clear that you are not looking for them to ‘fix you up with a job’. Even people with the power to hire would rather hire someone they feel is fit for the job rather than as a favor to a friend.

  3. Do not focus on your resume. Focus on your target list. Many people may be comfortable giving advice on your resume. But it would not help your job search. Asking them what they know in your target list may take you one step closer to your next job.

How To Be A Networker Whom People Love

  • Be prepared to give some useful information back to your networking contact.

  • Remind your contact about some shared interest: eg, a mutual friend or a past connection.

  • Make people feel relaxed.

  • Give your resume to people only AFTER you have spoken to them and when they ask for it with a clear intention to send it someplace appropriate.

  • Give your friends a copy of your target list from time to time as you refine it. This would be a gentle reminder to them to keep their eyes peeled for information about insiders in those companies.

Best Practices When Asking For Introductions:

  • Close contacts: Always request and discuss introductions.

  • Casual contacts: Be more careful, but do ask.

  • Remote contacts: Introductions are quite unlikely unless you have some common organizational connection like religious fraternity, past educational connection etc.