Networking is a terrible verb to describe human interactions. For some people, networking still has that cheesy sounding ring to it. I've spent countless hours reading newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts from recruiters from all over the country and nearly all of them say that one of the most important job search strategies is networking.
I get it.
"Networking" is important. But can we stop calling it that?
The single most important "thing" to you in your job search are the relationships you have with other people.
Call it what you will, you likely need to build more professional relationships.
How do you get started?
- Set a goal of meeting one or two new people each week. Building strong relationships isn't something that will help you tomorrow. Like most investments, it takes time. Start today
- Change where you go for coffee. You might be surprised what a change of scenery can do for your ability to meet new people.
- Ask your contacts to introduce you to others. Be polite, and specific. Ask to be introduced to a specific person.
- Volunteer your time. Find a cause you are passionate about and look for opportunities to help.
- Help others. The most important thing to remember about building relationships is to give first. Don't go looking for people to add to your Rolodex with the expectation of getting something for nothing.
Also, remember that LinkedIn does not a network make (read that post here).
I rarely agree with the public thoughts of Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn but on this point, we do agree.