Networking has a Bad Reputation (But It Shouldn’t!)

Posted In: Mentors / Networking
Posted On: 3/20/2013

Networking. Yeah, it sounds like some sleazy guy working a crowd. It sounds like you want something from somebody else. It sounds like there is an agenda. It sounds like hard work. And the truth is, it sure doesn’t have to be. Networking is a powerful and easy-to-create tool that will help you as your career grows and develops.

How can a network help you and how do you develop a network? The most obvious way a network can help you is when you are looking for a job. Knowing someone who knows someone is the best way to get your name and your resume to stand out. Like many of my peers, I will always review a recommendation that comes from an acquaintance, whereas I might not pay any attention to a contact made by a stranger. Likewise, you may be faced with a problem that you just can't answer on your own. It comes in super handy to have a short list of people with the

Knowing someone who knows someone is the best way to get your name and resume to stand out. 

right experience that you can call or email for insight and advice. And you know they will answer you! But the real power of networking comes from using your connections to help someone else. You will be amazed at how good it feels to help a friend solve their personal dilemma by connecting them with another acquaintance of yours. Creating a network is easy and you can start today. First and foremost, networking isn’t just knowing powerful people. Sure it is nice if you know movie stars or company presidents or the bouncer at that hot new club. But regular ol’ people are even better to have in your network because they probably have real skills that can help you and they are much more readily accessible. And it is critical that you keep in contact with your work colleagues as you move on to a new job. They could very well be your next lead to a new opportunity. Second, and this is super important, you want to build your network when you DON'T need help! It’s so much harder to reach out to someone for the first time when you need something from them. Lay the groundwork when you are just asking to be connected, nothing more! Finally, don't be shy about introducing yourself to new people and building out your network. Be confident that you have something to offer to them as they expand their network. Now get out there and start connecting!