July 17, 2009

Who’s in your network?

Filed under: insights — Paul Kilman @ 2:28 pm

It is well documented that over 50% of individuals obtain their next position as a result of networking. At essence, networking is ultimately about raising your visibility with the people who can hire you to do what you are interested in doing. It is true that the end goal of networking is to obtain job leads, but networking is more of a journey than this simple definition suggests. What happens is this: You start by speaking with people you already know. Where appropriate, they link you to people they know (and so forth) which hopefully results in an increased flow of useful information about you, your career interests, the market and ultimately job opportunities. It is important to realize that not everyone is in a position to offer you the same kind of help. Yes, you are seeking job leads, but not everyone may be in a position to do so. It would be more useful and satisfying for you to think of networking in the following way. You are seeking to connect with people who can fulfill the following helpful roles in your job search:

Challengers – People who will ask you the hard questions and force you to carefully consider the direction you have chosen. They challenge you to face the important questions about your life.

Experts – These are people in your field whom you respect and value as a professional contact. These people are quite skilled at what they do.

Hubs – These people are very well connected. They know a lot of people and can provide you with both information and people to contact. Note that such people can be outside of your line of work, so think broadly here.

Mentors – People who will guide you and teach you what they know.

Promoters – These are people who will take an active role in helping you. They will actively promote you and/or advise you of developing opportunities.

Role Models – These people have achieved what you aspire to. They are examples to learn from and emulate.

As you speak with people about your job search, you will be more successful and find the process more satisfying if you believe that everyone has something of value to offer you. Especially seek to connect with people who can fulfill the above roles in your job search.

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