Networking is a Contact Sport and it’s Not about You

Three degrees of Freedom

It’s a small world. The six degrees of separation idea is that anyone can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries. Networking in Ireland, I find that there are three degrees of separation!

Networking is a mystery to most people, which is why they dread it so much and do it so poorly. If you’re one of them, you probably feel awkward asking for help when you’re looking for a job. Because you’ve been advised to do this when job hunting, you call people out of nowhere, even though they haven’t spoken to you in years.

That’s a blatant misuse of your social connections.You cannot take out what you have not put in!

Networking is not about you—actually, it’s the opposite. It is about relationship-building, and relationships are not one-way streets. The best approach is to make networking a natural part of your ongoing interactions with people, by focusing first on how you can help them.

Networking means:

  • Getting to know other people, becoming interested in them, their careers, hobbies and interests.
  • Offering to help others, for example, being a sounding board or passing along articles or web sites you think would be of interest to them
  • Commenting on their blog posts and helping promote their ideas via your social media connections

Networking is not only for when you need something. That means you need to be networking long before you’re thinking about changing jobs. Rather, approach this part of your job hunting as refreshing and caring for your relationships.

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