Give to Get… Why Networking Works

Even if you just started your job search, you can start doing something immediately to improve your odds of finding a new (and usually better) job. Help other people who are looking for work. You can find your peers at local networking groups. Here in Rochester we have the August Group and many more. How do I begin to help others? First of all you can listen. Listen more than you talk. There is a lot to be gained by having peer support. Next, be open to what the person is saying. Next, share something about yourself and exchange business cards. You never know who this person knows that will be helpful to you.

The “enlightened self-interest” result will be that you may get help learning about “hidden jobs”. These are jobs that never get posted because organizations need people who can fit in, get along, and contribute in many ways (not just doing the job) and that’s hard to advertise for. Also, they it’s less expensive to interview someone that employee or friend/contact knows. They network with employees, friends, professional contacts, etc. to see if someone knows someone who might be right for the job. The plain fact is many (likely most) professionals will find their next position through networking. Finding a new job is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to uncover this kind of opportunity.

But I hate talking to people…
Yeah, most of us do. Surprised? Even a very outgoing person can be uncomfortable talking to strangers about …the dreaded; do you know of any jobs? We’re almost all in this boat. Successful job hunters ease through this process by thinking about being helpful. Which contacts leave the best impression on you? Someone who talks or someone who listens.

How do you help a brand new contract? The more you listen and the more contacts you make, the more valuable you become. Ask them about the charities they support, their hobbies. Ask them how you might be able to help them now or in the future. If they are employed, they may be looking to fill a position. If so, now you have a job you can talk to others about. The process is a numbers game. Set small goals if it’s a struggle. Meeting with 5-10 contacts a week. Sound like a lot?

By the way, what fun did you have today? We’re going to talk more about that in the coming weeks. Have fun today. You can do it. The hallway changes everything. Enjoy it.