Whether you want to become more effective in your current role, or are looking for a way into that dream job, it’s useful to have advocates on your behalf. You want other people to talk about you in a positive way when you are not there, i.e. you want them to recommend you.
We all do it all the time, for restaurants, films, hotels – just extend this concept to people. Once you know them and understand what they do, then you can start to help them. That’s right – it’s not about YOU, it’s about how you can help other people. Having helped them, it’s likely they will reciprocate.
Traditional advertising is no longer the main recruitment method for many companies. They use LinkedIn, on-line applications, staff referrals, etc. Often, if you can’t tick a particular box, your on-line application won’t even be processed. A strong personal network can get you through the doors you couldn’t otherwise access. For internal promotions, if you have three equally competent candidates, the one who’s going to get the job is the one with the strongest personal profile – the best networker.
How do I do it?
The best way to achieve this is to get to know as many people as possible in the organisation. You do that by talking to people, not just those in your immediate working circle, but other departments, and outside the organisation as well.
Good Networkers Do
- Make sure you know what everyone in your network does. That way you can spot a good fit, and connect the right people in a way that’s useful to both parties.
- There will be times when you don’t know what to do or how to do it – ask your network – people always like being asked for advice
- When others ask your advice, recommend appropriate and relevant people, books / blog posts/ etc. to help them solve a problem
- Follow up on your commitments
- Say thank you
Good Networkers Don’t
- Always talk about themselves!
- Use every networking occasion to look for the next “big opportunity” for themselves
- Stand silent in the lift / coffee shop queue
- Turn up for meetings “on the dot” or slightly late (unless it can’t be helped)
- Expect people to do things for them if they don’t do things for other people
If your stomach is churning at the thought of attending networking events, or you’re too petrified to sit with a new group of people in the staff canteen, check out part three of this series, I’m a networker get me out of here, for tips on who to talk to and what to say.
Expecting more senior people to talk to you first
When I mentioned writing this blog to a friend of mine the other day, she laughed and told me about the most important career conversation of her life. On her first day as a graduate trainee in Intel, she stepped into the lift. The only other occupant was the MD. “Hello”, she said, and introduced herself, “I just want to say this in my first day and I’m really excited to be working here.” The MD always remembered her, and she herself says the impact lasted through her career in Intel and beyond.
I hope I’ve convinced you that networking for career development isn’t a necessary evil – it’s just necessary. So don’t be a blushing violet, say “Hello” to someone you don’t know in work this week