How did you get your current job? Odds are you knew someone that knew someone that knew someone. That person threw your name in the hat and it led to an interview. And the rest is history.
I’ve been hearing a lot of this lately from people getting new jobs. Some of them weren’t even looking to change jobs, they were just nominated by someone they knew or used to work with.
None of this happens without a little magic we call networking.
What is networking? Most people look at networking as another tool to use in their job search.
This is all wrong.
Networking is NOT:
- Sucking up to your boss to get ahead
- Keeping in touch with former co-workers in case you need their recommendation later on
- Sending out a mass email to everyone you know the day you lose your job asking for “a little help”
Every time I hear someone talking about networking this way, it makes me think of a sleazy salesman pitching me something I don’t need.
What Networking is Really About
Networking doesn’t begin when you want to get a new job, it’s always happening. And I don’t like the term “networking,” either. It sounds too Tony Robbins for me.
Networking is simper than that: it’s socializing. Being yourself. Getting to know people and having them know you.
You aren’t trying to sell people on the idea of how great you are, you just want them to see for themselves how great you actually are. Think of it as finding a new friend: you aren’t trying to convince a person to be your friend, you’re just trying to find out if the two of you are a good fit to be friends.
Same goes with socializing.
What is Socializing?
Socializing is getting to know other people and getting them to know you. Doesn’t matter what kind of person you are or what you do, the goal is for them to “get” you.
If this person gets to know you pretty well, and they like what they see, then odds are you’ll become friends (or friendly, at least). And friends know each other pretty well. Which means, when a job opening comes across your desk, you’ll know whether or not your friend is a good fit for it.
If he/she is a good fit, you’re more apt to call up your boss and say, “You know what, I know someone that’s perfect for this job.”
I have lots more to say about this, so I’ll post a part two tomorrow. But if you disagree with me, please post it in the comments and we can all get to the bottom of this.
Check out part II: You Say Networking, I Say Socializing