Networking. You may have heard me frequently quote Metcalfe’s Law – that the value of your network is directly proportional to the square of its total number of connections. After all, how often have we heard, it is not what we know that matters, its who we know?
What has been evident in my dealings with hiring managers over the years is that, as a first port of call, they often reach out to their trusted networks to identify prospective candidates for new opportunities. It is only when they are unable to find anyone with the relevant knowledge, experience, expertise and skills through leveraging their own networks do they look further afield. Whats more, if a hiring manager then finds someone from outside of their network, they will typically consult their trusted connections to seek advice on potential suitability and, most importantly, cultural fit.
Therefore, in this hyper-connected world, it can be hugely beneficial to your career if you take every opportunity to proactively build and nurture an effective network. Too often I come across individuals who are left high and dry – especially after restructures – where they attempt to navigate an extremely weak (at best) or a non-existent (at worst) personal network to seek new opportunities.
So how do you build a powerful network that’ll boost your career without annoying potential employers? Here are three top tips to help you network like a pro and make meaningful connections:
It’s not about you – Always be on the lookout to connect people you know so that they can benefit from knowing each other too. They will remember you and will go out of their way to connect you to others in their network – this is the power of a network.
Never ask for anything in return - This works on the law of karma - “what goes around comes around” or “as you sow, so shall you reap”. It is a known fact that you will ultimately benefit in some way, shape or form from your generosity but don’t immediately expect something in return.
Always say thank you – You would be surprised how often folk miss this simple yet powerful action following an interaction. Always show appreciation and follow through on any agreed actions – especially if you have agreed to make further connections. This will leave a lasting impression.
Effective networking is not a science. It is an art that can be improved through practice and following some simple rules. You will very quickly see the positive impacts – especially when you’re next on the hunt for a new role. Please share your experiences with us and do reach out directly if I can do anything to assist you to grow your networks.