Did you know that…
- A referral generates 80% more results than a cold call.
- 75% of people get their jobs through networking.
- Most people have at least 250 contacts.
Yes, it’s true! Think of all the people you know from school, work, your neighborhood and religious congregations!
- Anyone you might want to meet or contact is only 4 or 5 people removed from you.
- Putting friends, neighbors and associates on the spot.
- Using people strictly for your own gain.
- Coercing or manipulating someone into doing what you want.
The following quote fits with my philosophy of networking:
“Networking is making links from people we know to people they know, in an organized way, for a specific purpose, while remaining committed to doing our part, expecting nothing in return.”
Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas
If you believe the sayings, “What goes around comes around,” and “You reap what you sow,” this should fit for you.
Facing Your Fears
What are some of you fears? Do any of the following sound familiar to you?
- “I can’t handle rejection.”
- “If they support me, what will they expect in return?”
- “I don’t want to look weak.”
- “I’m not comfortable being pushy or aggressive.”
How to Start the Process
The first step is to make lists of all your contacts. Knowing where you want to go can focus your networking efforts.
- Neighbors, past and present
- People I went to school with
- People I have worked with in the past
- People who attend my religious congregation
- Former teachers, employers
- People I socialize with
- People who provide services to me
- Friends of relatives
- Members of professional and social organizations
- Parents of your children’s friends
Be clear about what you want before you contact the person. You need to be focused. If you want information, ask for the information you want. If you want job leads, or contacts for jobs, know what kind of job you seek.
Networking is not just for those looking for a job. The best time to start is when you are happily employed. Networking is about the give and take process of building relationships. Keep in touch with all your professional contacts. Be active in professional and social organizations and other groups in your community. Network within your organization and with affiliated organizations.
If you make networking a priority, your job search will be easier in the future. Employers may actually approach you!
It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!