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One of my friends has been spending a lot of time building his LinkedIn contacts. He’s been working for over 25 years and is in the “500+” club on LinkedIn. He is in the process of looking for a job and, like all good job searchers should, he’s tried to leverage his network.
When he applies for a position, he checks his contacts for direct connections at that company and lets his contacts know. Similarly, if he gets an interview, he will try to leverage his contacts as well, going to “2” level (connected through someone you know) or even “3” level (connected through someone you know that knows someone). For all of his work, this tactic does not really seem to help that much. What he has found very effective is leads from people who know his background and the work he’s done.
Now I’m not suggesting that you ignore your contacts when interviewing or applying for a job, but your greatest resources are those that know firsthand what you are best at. So where am I going with this? Read on.
Categorize Your Network
This may sound crazy at first but think about it. Your network is most likely made up of your friends, former coworkers, relatives, maybe an old girlfriend and who knows who else. Those connections who truly know the work you’ve done and your strengths should be in your top tier. These are your “#1” network contacts and the group that is best positioned to help you land a new job.Those connections who truly know the work you've done and your strengths should be in your top tier. These are your '#1' network contacts and the group that is best positioned to help you land a new job.Click To Tweet
There are many ways to categorize your network, but I would suggest that the second tier in your categorization are those people who have worked with you but are not close enough to know your specific strengths. How do you categorize the rest?
Cut through the networking noise and start building the powerful, real relationships needed to succeed in our digital world
Know How To Use Your Network
A few years ago, a guy I used to work with tried to leverage me in his quest to find a new job. I gave him a few leads and kept an eye open for opportunities. But this guy almost became a stalker. He would call me several times a week and send emails on a regular basis. It got to the point where he became too needy and he fell off of my “let me try to help” list.
“Networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career or business. It’s a way to meet new people, build relationships, and learn about opportunities that you may not have known about otherwise. However, many people don’t take advantage of all the networking opportunities available to them.” – Networking Opportunities You Are Overlooking
Networking advice for anyone who has ever canceled a coffee date due to social anxiety—about how to nurture a vibrant circle of reliable contacts without leaving your comfort zone.
Leveraging your network is not as easy as letting everyone know you are looking for a job and then bugging them on a regular basis. Your #1 contacts (from the list you’ve just created after you read the paragraph above) are not only the most likely people to help you find a job, they are your most valuable resource and should be treated as such. Use them but don’t abuse them.
The Art of Networking
Like all forms of art, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and networking is no different. But art is art and there are some tried and true methods of networking that will help you get the best results.