In excess of 70% of job opportunities never make it to the public domain. It’s not what but who you know when it comes to looking for a job.
Make a list. Who do you know that can have a part to play in influencing a successful outcome for you? Of those on your list, who might they know who can have a similar positive influence? Play a game. Start mapping, listing names, linking them to the people they know. It’s all about degrees of separation. You’ll be amazed who in your network is connected to who.
You’ll never truly understand the value in your network until you test it out. See for yourself. Grab a pen and paper and get started. One name leads to another. They all have a part to play in realising your goals. Even if you don’t realise right there and then, how or why, you will have written that name down for a reason. Don’t hesitate, take the first names that crop up in your mind and start building. Even if it seems daft, it won’t be. Write it down anyway.
Before you start connecting, consider that success in networking is unlikely if your approach is one of “what can I get”. Think about what you can give. Information, articles, knowledge, connections? Is there someone in your network that can help them, that you can connect them with, that will create mutual value? If you believe in the value you can add, evidence it to them. Show them the value you can provide by giving that connection, the piece of information, that article. If you want that relationship to strengthen over time, keep giving, keep adding value, keep helping.
Approach networking on the basis of “what’s in this for us”. Your chances of success will be greatly enhanced. Networking is all about what you can give, not what you can get. Give and keep giving. It takes time, don’t expect immediate results. What you put in you will get back, eventually. Sure there will always be those who are happy to take and give nothing in return. That says more about them then it does about you. Don’t lose heart. Reach out to those in your network. Give, help, add value, connect. You’ll be amazed what comes back to you.