Networking isn’t about cables and technical equipment — that’s not the type of networking we’re talking about at all. We’re actually talking about the type of networking that can build your future — or destroy it if you’re not careful. If you’re trying to land a top job, you’re going to need to make sure that you have top notch networking.
The most common question that we get is simple — when do you start networking? This is not a question that really makes sense, as networking is something that starts right away. Networking is something that starts when you’re really ready to take on the world and you know it. Networking is something that should always be in motion. Every person you meet is a contact, and you need to figure out how you can make their lives easier.
It’s really all about them, you know. It might sound weird, but the more you focus on yourself, the less that people really want to deal with you. However, if you flip that around, you’ll actually find that the more you work on helping other people, the more that they will connect you to other pieces of their network. This is because everyone loves to get a helping hand. They want to feel special. They want to feel that you truly understand what they’re going through and what they’re dealing with. On the other hand, if you were to only think about what you were trying to get out of everything, people can pick that up right away. Everyone wants to be helpful, but very few people actually want to be used. You’ll learn this more and more as you go through life. You will see people be honestly hurt by being used up, but they absolutely love helping people. Do these things have to be one and the same? Not at all. It’s quite possible to get a working arrangement that’s satisfactory to everyone.
It can be hard to think about networking when everyone else is having a good time. But it goes right back to what we’ve discussed before — how bad do you want a good life? How bad do you want to be able to get all of the things that you want to get? With the right mindset, nothing is impossible. It is possible to get into all sorts of things that you might not have expected, because the world is so vast and filled with lots of opportunities. You just have to think about what you’re ultimately trying to do. It’s tempting to think that you will not have any trouble at all getting what you want, but the reality is that there will always be challenges along the way.
It’s not the challenges in life that get to us — it’s how we react to those challenges. If you fold like a house of cards, then networking isn’t going to save you at all. But if you always look at life like a puzzle to be solved — and to have fun while doing it — you will find that networking really fits your needs.
In order to make the most out of networking, there’s a few things that you need to do. First and foremost, you want to have a solid foundation for your personal brand. In this day and age, that means having your own website. We hate to break it to you, but not having your own website just doesn’t make sense. Employers can find you and get to know you, and other networking savvy people will find you as well.
Connecting to people on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook is a good idea. There have been people that have found new jobs through Facebook and other social media platforms. The key here is that you need to make sure that your profile isn’t filled with a lot of inappropriate or distracting things. If you are ranting about the government, you’re only going to appeal to people who have the same views that you do. On the other hand, if you think about all of the things that truly inform and educate people, you can pull in more people into your crowd.
The Internet has really changed the way we network, because the total size of the network got bigger. There’s no reason to be limited by location anymore.
Keep your information up to date if you’re going to really make the most out of social networking, because people are going to want t contact you privately. Make sure that you have a place where you can save notes on each and every contact. As your network grows, you might forget why someone is important. The best power players know exactly who is in their network, what they can offer them, and what they can get from their new contacts in return. If you can’t keep notes in the same site as where your contacts are, then you will need to keep a separate file for this information.
Overall, you can get out there and network. It’s not just about finding new job opportunities or getting help with starting a new company. It’s about expanding your social skills by connecting with people that you don’t immediately know. It’s also about finding people that can support you on your journey. We hate to break it to you, but the reality is that the friends you grew up with may not necessarily serve your best purposes now. That means that you’re going to have to get more strategic and find new friends. That doesn’t mean that you hate your old friends, it just means that you’ve outgrown them. Nothing wrong with that. Good luck in everything that you do!