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Networking – How to Make It Work for You and Your Career

Part 2 – Now What Do I Do? Start with Re-Thinking How to Network

In my last blog I covered why career networking is so vital to a successful job search. Networking is the key to securing referrals and having a large enough awareness and reputation within the community of decision makers that you are trying to influence.

Before we cover the “how to’s” of networking let’s first look at why networking seems be so difficult.

My premise is that networking is challenging for many people because it can seems self serving.

Think about it – we traditionally network to determine:

  • Does this person know someone who can help me?
  • Does this person have a job for me?

This approach leaves many people feeling uncomfortable because they do not want to see themselves as self serving. It also can feel like you are imposing your needs onto others. Stated another way, this traditional approach looks only at “what’s in it for me” rather than taking the other person’s needs into consideration.

It is no surprise that many people avoid networking for opportunities!

At The Frontier Group we propose that our clients begin to think of networking differently.

  • Networking is first and foremost about building relationships
  • Think of the other person’s needs first – I am here to help you
  • Believe that this approach will come back around to help you – The Golden Rule
  • Think of NetWeaving rather than networking

NetWeaving is a new approach to networking developed by Bob Littell, a successful consultant from Atlanta.

NetWeaving, as Bob Littell explains it, is “a Golden Rule form of networking which focuses on helping others first, or at least putting other’s needs, problems and opportunities on a more equal plane with those of you own; doing so with the belief and conviction, that over time, what goes around comes around”.

This is all done in the spirit of enlightened self interest - a belief that by helping others they will in the return help you.

We do this by being a

  • “Connector” – example: do you know this person?
  • “Resource” – example: helping people find solutions to their problems

After explaining networking to our clients, I find that they all can see themselves as NetWeavers – as people helping others, as people building positive relationships.