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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Its all about who you know...

Contrary to my friend's expectations, networking is not about finding somebody who is going to take time and interest to promote your career. That's a friend or a mentor, but you come across those few and far between.

Networking is about serendipity: making your own luck. We've all heard of some guy who just happened to have a friend starting a business and brought them in -- only to make a million dollars later. The reason the story is not uncommon is because that's how most positions are filled. I once saw a statistic that over 92% of positions are filled through extended networks rather than traditional means (classifieds, resume sites, recruiters).

This doesn't happen when you find one person and are persistent with them, however. Networking is more about finding the person who already needs your skills, or your company, or your money. It's about being in the right place at the right time. The more places and times you are meeting people, the more likely it is that you'll find what you're looking for. It's about making your interests and needs widely known (a new job, companies to invest in, people to hire, money to raise) and listening to the interests and needs of others. Because of the FOAF concept ("friend-of-a-friend"), you are likely to run across somebody who needs what somebody else you know is offering. Eventually, that person will be you. My friend should be looking for the right person who is already seeking his skills rather than expecting somebody he met will work to help him.

READ: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

Comments:
Jim,

I lost my job last summer, and remember this post as one of the most useful things I found in the blogosphere regarding networking (aside from your blog and Stephen Harris', of course!). I especially like the "ask for nothing except advice." I have used it successfully, and give it as advice to friends who are jobseeking. Thanks for sharing it!

Mike
 
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