Networking is the route for 70% of new positions and opportunities. Now, more than ever, you need to be on top of this game, doing it more, doing it better. Here are two more tips to increase your effectiveness at establishing those new relationships.
- Move on to your cold contacts as soon as possible. Your next position is most likely to come through a cold contact. Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? We all have warm contacts: family, close friends, colleagues, mentors who know us well. That is the good news— and the bad news. They also know us as we were “then”: growing up, in our first position, and as that “great personality.” The trick is to use these warm contacts to introduce us to cold contacts, or people we are meeting for the first time, and for whom we present ourselves as facing into the future. With these new contacts, we have a clean slate and can define ourselves in terms of who we are now, what we can contribute, and what we can do for them. So, move through your warm contacts as quickly as possible, asking each for 2-3 other people whom you are yet to meet. Chances are this is where your next opportunity will emerge.
- Get up to speed on social networking tools. Avoid Linked-in, Facebook and Twitter at your peril. Experts say that people who are not “connected” will be left in the dust in several years. Face to face contact is the most powerful, but use these tools to locate and engage people whom you want to meet. Networking is not about names on business cards, it is about relationships and these tools provide opportunity to jump into the conversation. Post questions, get information you need, begin a dialog with your next boss!
See Networking During Tough Times: Part I for more tips.