Networking, the Gracious Art Of ……
One of the most misunderstood concepts of the job search is “networking.” It has been my personal experience that what people believe they know about networking is just enough to make them dangerous. Most of us believe networking is all about finding a job (and yes, in the long run, that is the goal), but networking is actually a process of creating relationships and doing targeted research, allowing you to make informed decisions rather than one base on assumptions.
An effective networker begins with a high level of personal “ownership” on how unique and special they are. Next, they develop a very focused set of questions that will give them the information they need to make informed decisions on the issues important to them.
I call these How Can I? issues. How can I use my skills? How can I make money in my area of interest, and how much can I make? How can I work flex hours? How can I get paid for additional education? These are only examples. Now you will want to determine what’s important to you, not what other people feel is important.
Next, begin researching or exploring answers to your specific questions. Start with people who know you. Family and friends are often overlooked, but they can often provide meaningful information if only asked. Continue to build your personal network by asking for referrals, keeping in mind that it’s always more productive to be creating and using a warm or hot network rather than making cold calls. Just ask any salesperson,
Filter the information you receive, making sure that you are getting the information needed to make an informed decision. It’s a challenge because the world is full of all sorts of information, much of it negative, limiting, and just plain wrong for you. The good news is the right information is also out there, and you can it too if you ask the right questions.
Remember, networking is a gracious art. Treat people like you would like to be treated yourself. When all is said and done, it is people who hire people, not their resumes or applications. So the more time you spend talking with people, the sooner you will find or create your next fantastic job.