What Is Networking, and How Can It Help?

  • -
NetworkPics2

What Is Networking, and How Can It Help?

This is a networking site. That’s why it exists. Yet it’s surprising how many comments and emails we get with people uncomfortably admitting they don’t really understand what networking is. And really, that’s understandable … no business school out there, to my knowledge, teaches a class in Networking 101. Academia doesn’t really teach networking: for one thing, academia is its own network, by default.

Plus, if they’re teaching you, that means they already HAVE jobs. So networking often isn’t even on their radar.

The thing is, though, networking exists for more than just the job search. Oh, it can be used for that–in fact, networking is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your job-hunting toolbox. But it’s a significantly more useful tool if you don’t wait until you’re out of a job to use it.

At its core, networking is about connecting, building ties between people, believing that shared knowledge works to everyone’s benefit. Which sounds great on paper, I know … it’s not that easy in real life–if for no other reason than the fact that the payoff usually isn’t immediate. Networking is the art of fostering and nurturing two-way relationships that will serve both parties; that doesn’t mean the first time you talk with someone, it will change your life … but there does need to be a first time. And that’s where people get stuck.

Networking: It Isn’t Just for Job-hunters

As mentioned, many people don’t even consider networking until they need to find a job–and even more stop networking the moment they find one. The immediate problem with this is that it tends to limit the number of and types of contacts in your network.

You might say “Yeah–isn’t that the point?” Well, in the long-term, no. But even in the short-term, the broader your network is, the more potential opportunities you’re exposed to. When people job hunt, they tend to look for positions similar to the last one they held. But in this day and age, new technologies are changing the employment landscape on a daily basis. There may be a position out there that’s a better fit, in a company or even an industry that didn’t exist 10 years ago.

So the fact is, even if you’re only networking to find a job, job leads can come from just about anywhere: sticking to your comfort zone is usually a mistake.

Networking Through Your Fear

Not everyone is an extrovert. And sometimes trying to make a new contact can be as anxiety-ridden as the first time you ask someone for a date. Fact it: nobody likes rejection.

But really, there’s no need to start accosting strangers. In fact, you probably already have a larger network than you realize, once you start adding up contacts: there are relatives, friends, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. There are all the people your spouse/significant other knows, and people you interact with through your kids, like teachers and other parents.

There are people you work with, people you used to work with, and people you’d like to work with some day. People you’ve met through professional organizations, and those you know from more social groups, like clubs or church. There’s the barista where you buy coffee, the plumber that installed your dishwasher, the stylist who cuts your hair. It could even include people you communicate with on social media but have never met face-to-face!

Networking for Life

The point is, building a network isn’t just about meeting strangers. Sometimes all it takes is getting to know the people you already kind of know. In most case, those people will end up introducing you to people they know–and being introduced to someone by a mutual friend is much easier than “cold-calling” strangers. And if you have a skillset you’re willing to share (like this entrepreneur), people may end up coming to you.

Is it still scary? Sure. But people can learn to move beyond that fear, cultivating their contact list even while staying relatively uncomfortable with the process themselves. A lot of them never get beyond that stage, and as soon as a new job offer comes in, those networking skills go right back into the closet until next time.

The ones who don’t do that, though–the ones who push themselves past their normal tendencies and continue to develop those relationships–these are the people who reap the full benefits of the network. They are the ones who understand that networking isn’t a hit-or-miss proposition: the process–and the rewards–go on indefinitely.


  • -
Blockchain Photography

How Can The Blockchain Revolutionize Photography?

At this point, you’ve probably heard plenty about how blockchain technology promises to “revolutionize” industries like banking, finance, and retail. But did you know this tool has broad, fascinating applications for the art world, too?

We’re not just talking about surface-level applications like accepting bitcoin as a payment method for licensing fees or something. There’s a much more in-depth way to look at the technology. 

Read More

  • -
Compromise

Should You Make Compromises in Your Job Search?

Compromise gets a bad rap sometimes, but it’s a huge part of what makes society work. For example, under ideal circumstances, government is all about compromise. Look at the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare: The bill went through over 100 public hearings and received 161 amendments from opposing parties before it was passed. Nobody got everything they wanted … but no one went away empty handed either.

Read More

  • -
FreeTime

Laid Off? Consider Taking Some TIME Off.

Most people understand that taking a little time off now and then is good for you. But what if you’ve just been laid off or terminated? Surely your priority at that point should be finding another position, right? Well actually, experts point out that it may take a little time to recover from the shock of losing your job. 

Read More

  • -
investments

Ready to Invest? Here’s Where to Get Started

You’ve probably seen powerful, high-profile investors and wondered “where did they get all of that money?” Well, even the biggest fish had to start somewhere. Some are born with it, but many others started out right where you are now.

Read More

  • -
unemployed

5 Tips on Financial Survival for the Unemployed

If you were marooned on a desert island, not knowing if or when you would be rescued, what’s the first thing you would do? A lot of people would say look for food (because that’s how we think), but the reality is, water is more important. We tend to overlook something that simple because it’s always there for us: we seldom think about it, we just use it to our heart’s content on an everyday basis.

Read More

  • -
At a crossroads - Decisions and choices concept with large arrow

How Long Should You Wait for Your Dream Job?

In a recent interview, entrepreneur Gary Cardone tells about an experience he had in his twenties. He’d been selling–of all things–bananas … which, to say the least, was not a good fit for him. So he quit. Most of us would be hesitant to take that kind of blind leap, but Cardone considered quitting a positive step.

Read More

  • -
YourFired

Dos and Don’ts If You Get Laid Off or Fired

In the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, being dismissed from a job is in the Top 10 most stressful events. Anyone who’s gone through it can relate. For anyone who hasn’t gone through–or is going through it now–we’ve compiled a few dos and don’ts to be aware of in the beginning.

Read More

  • -
28194950494_a05a01ae2d_z

Build Your Resume to Get a Job as a Fraud Analyst

Merchants, consumers and banking institutions are facing increased rates of fraud. With increased fraud rates, merchants are suffering from losses as high as $279 for every $100 of actual fraud. Consumers deal with stolen identities, damaged credit reports, and the hassle of setting up new accounts after an identity breach. You might want to consider learning how to build your resume to get a job as a fraud analyst.

Read More

  • -
health_care_resume

Erectile Dysfunction Doctors: 5 Tips to Enhance Your Resume

Competition in the health care industry is fierce—and men’s health is no exception. In fact, often times, it is more challenging to get a job as a low T professional or a doctor who treats erectile dysfunction because of the stigmata associated with these health conditions. Patients need a special brand of compassion, and doctors need to be able to deliver.

Read More