Catching up on my reading last night, I came across Jason Alba’s, JibberJobber blog post about networking. His wisdom ties into my last post, so take a look at what he has to say, “Networking Sucks in the Job Search (aka, Why Networking isn’t Working.)”
Bottom line, networking, as Jason says, is NOT only handing out business cards at a quarterly professional meeting. And it’s definitely NOT calling Joe, who you haven’t spoken with in 10 years, the day after you were laid-off and saying, “Hey man. I lost my job. You gotta help me.” You’ll be lucky if Joe even remembers you and now you’re “expecting” him to help you find employment.
Effective networking is seeing an article or an interesting Web site about one of Joe’s interests or even a joke you know he’d enjoy and taking the time to send it to him. Or picking up the phone occasionally – once a year – to play catch-up. It takes only five minutes (if that) to stay in touch and let someone know you’re thinking about them. Doing this over time builds a relationship and dare I say a network.
I love the term Jason coined “Microwave Networkers”. There is no 60-second answer to building a network. It takes time. And cultivating long-term professional relationships takes effort. It requires you think about someone other than yourself occasionally and take action on those thoughts. Five, ten minutes a day, over several years and you’ll have a solid, helpful network established. And better yet, people tend to reciprocate, so the energy you put out is sure to come back to you.
Networking is an effective way to learn about new opportunities. But, you’ve got to have a network in place LONG before you’re laid-off or considering a career change. Yes, networking works, as long as you make it more than handing someone a business card with the hope they’ll remember you in five years when you need their help.
And on another note, no matter the holiday you celebrate, make it extraordinary this year. I, personally celebrate Christmas, so want to share a plate of Christmas cookies and take a moment to wish everyone