I have been postponing the writing about networking, firstly because I wanted to experience it first on my job search and secondly I wanted to attend conferences, read books, etc.. to inform myself about it.
First statement is clear, networking is part of your life, we all meet many people during our life, and some have more impact in our life than others. The way you interact with others clearly can help your career and life improvement. So we come to the first point. the click. Networking works always better with friends and positive contacts. So it is clear that a good friend can help you much more than a totally CEO from a company who does not know you personally. Only trust and confidence motivate people to help.
Good news for the shy people (and for me) is that networking is “learnable”, we can develop it, no natural born feature, even though some people have natural openness and social features that support it. I remember in one flight, that the person sitting close to me made me some comments about the book I was reading and we started a friendly conversation during the flight and we exchanged cards contacts. I remember a conference from Rosaura Alastruey an expert on this, she confirmed the following: We come to the second question (applicable also to me), how often do we do this? How often you start conversations with foreigners? Do you call, email, contact people you met one night, one dinner, one wedding,… And you clicked? Maybe they cannot help you now but you must follow them through the years.
I need to say that with 39 years old, I have more contacts than ever. Being older helps in networking. I am very focused sometimes in requesting support to people in my Job search I always forget in networking the key phrase, “how can I help you back with this support?”. Also From my experience now, I am recovering contacts that I forgot and keep asking myself “why we left contact when we had so good relation?. And what can I do for these contacts?
Important point offer yourself to help, you will realize that people need things. And it is nice to help the others. it does not exactly mean to help at work. You can teach them english, you can help them improving their webs or social media, you can share your knowledge with them or just having a drink with them and listening to their problems. Networking is about that, sharing your situation ( i am looking for a job), is just part of the net, the friendship or companion relation. And the rest will follow, they will tell others how good you are, or say the most wanted phrase “I know someone perfect for the job”. (Think about networking results are after months or years, jobs don’t come easy when you need them).
Finally and most important point resuming the former ones. Helping others is the way to improve your life. If you help and support your friends, the ones with clicks and care about the networking making new clicks constantly. This is clear in book “Never eat alone” from Keith Ferrazzi. (Book recommended by Rosaura Alastruey) The idea is that you approach directly to people to help them, and good things will surely come your way, they will pay you back with your support. This all over your life.
One important point I wanted to share with you and example, never say the phrase “I cannot put you in contact with this person because I keep this contact for the last option for me”. First you are not granted to success with that contact when you need it but on the other side you will help your friend and maybe improve your relation with the hidden contact. It happened yo me this two days ago with one of my closest friend, luckily I unblocked the contact on time!!!