Networking – it’s NOT who you know!
A fresh perspective that may help you to focus your efforts.
No I am not going to tell you to toss out everything you have ever been told about networking in job search, but I want to encourage you to look at networking from a new angle.
Ever found you have been hard at work applying all the things you have heard about how to build a network one person at a time, leverage existing connections to get new introductions etc., etc., but it seems you are just “bouncing around” doing a lot of work for not much return?
All of that guidance is still valid – keep doing it. But here is a way to focus your effort that recent experience confirms is much more likely to produce real opportunities and it is actually very simple. The best things usually are! While getting to know lots of people by building your network is still the core activity, the way you focus this has a huge bearing on what it is likely to deliver.
It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you!!
That might sound like a very fine, rather pedantic distinction so let’s look at how it works.
Let’s say you are looking for a role as GM of Finance in a significant sized utility company in City A.
Step 1 – create and research a target list of companies that fit the profile of your preferred potential employer (nothing new there, I hear you say. Dead right!)
Step 2 – Map your network to these companies to see if you already have connections in or to them that you may have overlooked (okay, okay this is still old hat, where’s the new idea?)
Step 3 – the real target of your networking – Who in each of these companies, at a level of substantial influence, knows you well enough to be an advocate for you within their business. They need to know you and your capabilities well enough to be willing to mention your name when the company is facing an issue you could resolve or add value to. When they are feeling pain, who will say you are the person who can fix it?
That’s it. Build the network using the conventional techniques you already know until you can confidently say “I have a willing, influential advocate currently inside every one of my key target employers”.
Thanks for reading – now let me wish you a safe, blessed Christmas and a successful and prosperous 2013. I hope to share more insights with you in the coming year.