It’s a reality of today’s job market that you must network. Simply sending out resumes and hoping for the best will not do it. You have to build relationship capital and leverage it toward your goal of finding a job. This article will help you get started.
Think of the other guy first – While you may be anxious to get back to work, increase sales or achieve some other goal, it is probably best if you reach out first with “what you can give” in mind. In other words, sharing information, offering help and demonstrating that you are interested and care is the way to build a network. People tend to reciprocate in kind, so the best place for your start is with an attitude of helpfulness and encouragement.
Stay in touch – Don’t simply accumulate contacts and leave it at that. Contact the most important people in your network regularly. If you have a large network, consider having a schedule or system for checking in with people. Take an interest in your contacts and they will take an interest in you. It is also good to remember birthdays, anniversaries and reach out when someone is promoted or has other good news.
Share good information – While having a continuous presence among those in your network by sharing things of general interest out to all your contacts is wise. It is even better is to subdivide your network into groups and target useful information more specifically. An email to an individual that is personal and warm will also help you to deepen your connection. I recommend sending a personal email or calling at least several times a year.
Ask for something specific – When you need a favor, ask for something specific. In other words, don’t say something vague like can you help me. Instead say, “Would you be willing to get my resume in front of the hiring manager by Friday. “Would you contact three people on my behalf and get back to me by next Monday?” These types of requests are much more likely to result in action on your behalf. I would also have a schedule to follow up on these types of agreements.
Always say thank you – Often we are busy and sometimes take other peoples kindness for granted. Don’t do this, be generous with thank you notes, appreciation and deserved praise. If you can make it personal and specific even better. A handwritten thank you note is better than email and a personal email much better than a note that is vague and general.
Another word for a market is a community – If you want to enjoy good business relationships it is better for your future success to think of it this way. Really, it comes back to the golden rule, do on to others as you would like them to do on to you. If you keep that in the back of your mind, you will be the sort of person people will want in their networks and when you need a favor others will be willing to help you.
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