Have you ever heard of a back door job search? Relationships are a basic human need, and helping other people to fulfil their needs for relationships helps you, too. At the end of the day, life and business are ultimately about relationships, who you know, and – most importantly – who knows you. The best way to land a job is leveraging your connectivity.
Networking can be one of the most valuable uses of your time in terms of return – and not just in monetary terms. Lots of people have the wrong impression that networking events are likely being organized by sales people trying to force you purchasing items or signing up for memberships.
However, I have been attending networking events from different organizers; most of them provide a relaxed atmosphere to chat with people similar to yourself. Such informal chats often lead to many opportunities. Obviously, businesses will often seize the opportunity to promote their business to the audience, but good businesses never hard sell their services. They would rather share knowledge with you to win your trust.
The main benefit of face-to-face networking is the fact that you can create lasting impressions in the minds of people you meet. You may have sent countless resumes but heard nothing back. Wouldn’t it be better if you could simply email your resume to someone you had met previously, who happens to work in the firm you are interested in, so that the person can forward your resume to the decision maker, putting you on top of the pile? Even better: sometimes you can make an introduction to the business owner of the company you fancy without the lengthy interview screening process.
When it comes to effective network management, make sure to identify critical gaps. Think of what the other person needs and find ways you can help them do a better job. Be brave enough to meet people out of your comfort zone; if you only spend time with people with a similar background to you, they are likely in the same situation and facing the same problems you are. This means they may not be able to help you.
I have dealt with a difficult client who happened to be a candidate’s friend’s relative. When he learned of the connection that was there, things became so much easier. I also get amazing business deals from friends of my suppliers and people I met directly at various networking events.
If you keep forming and maintaining a strong contact base, it will serve you well for years to come. Remember, networking is a lifelong project. It’s never too late to start. For those who have started already, please don’t stop.