I gave a presentation of The Modern Resume at SQL Saturday #304 in Indianapolis recently and one of the attendees noted afterwards that I should have emphasized to people that they need to start networking today, before they need a job.
That’s true, and I agree I need to emphasize that networking, like many of the other tips, are long term efforts. The benefits come from regular attention to building and maintaining your network.
Talk to 3-5 people at every professional event or gathering. I’d say meet 3 new people and talk to 2 people you’ve met before. The former will grow your network; the latter will maintain it.
It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it works well.
Note that you can use social networking online in addition to in-person networking.
When you need a favor, a job, a recommendation, you’re asking for help from people. You are asking them to perform some work on your behalf.
If someone knows you, and they feel a connection, they’re more likely to respond positively. They are more likely to help. If they’ve just met you, do they feel any obligation?
Think about people that have asked you for favors. If a neighbor comes up to you for the first time and asks you to watch his or her pets for a week, are you willing to help? Some of you might, but many of you might not.
However if a neighbor that you’ve had dinner with, or talked to every week for a year asks you, are you more likely to help? Most people are.