3 Examples Of What Networking Is Really About

There you stand, at your neighbor’s cocktail party, martini in hand. As you nonchalantly pop the olive into your mouth, you just happen to blurt, “Listen, Christina – there have been layoffs at Acme. Is your company hiring?” RELATED: 60 Seconds Of Networking Advice Two days later, at your son’s Boy Scout award ceremony. As you nonchalantly pop the s'more into your mouth, you say: “Listen, Hank – there have been layoffs at Acme. Is your company hiring?”


The Truth

No. No. No. If this is how you envision networking, no wonder you dread it. It’s awkward, it’s invasive, and frankly, it doesn’t work. It’s awesome to know a lot of different kinds of people, and it’s fantastic to be invited to a lot of parties. But if your whole reason for attending them (besides the s’mores) is to find someone that will hand you a job … well, you’re doing it wrong.

The Wrong Way To Network

Perhaps you’re using an outdated definition of networking which sounds something like this one from Don Orlando of The McLean Group (and my fellow Career Directors International colleague), “Networking: a mutually mortifying process whereby you impose on every friend, relative, and total stranger to ask for something they cannot give you: a job.” Some people think that LinkedIn, the premiere online professional networking tool, is starting to look the same way. After all, LinkedIn began with relatively small networks of professionals who knew each other, and who slowly branched out one degree at a time. Now, you’re encouraged to collect as many connections as possible (friends as well as strangers), and to pay for higher positioning on applicant lists in the hopes of grabbing an employer’s attention. But that doesn’t mean that LinkedIn can’t be used for networking’s true purpose. Here are three examples of what real networking is about, and you don’t have to spend a dime to do it.
  1. “It’s better to give than to receive,” says Mr. Orlando. He recommends using a new definition: “Networking: the natural preference for extending value, without an immediate expectation of a return, and without giving away the store.” If you hear of a position that might interest one of your connections, let them know. If you read about an innovation in their industry, comment on it. If their daughter is graduating from college, say congratulations. It’s not all about you. In the end, your thoughtfulness may well bring rewards – but your first priority is to give, not to get.
  1. Get involved. Are you a circus marketer? An expert in computational astronomy and astrophysics? A vampire romance novelist? LinkedIn has a group for you. (Seriously.) LinkedIn isn’t just a stream of pictures of people who might hire you, it’s a place to have discussions with people who share your interests and experiences. Learn from them. Let them learn from you.
  1. Enjoy yourself. Networking is not a sum-zero game. If someone else finds something to enjoy on LinkedIn, whether it’s a cartoon or new employment, that doesn’t mean you can’t share in their enjoyment – and share your own enjoyment. Nobody likes a party-pooper. It’s the upbeat person who attracts attention. And in the end, you might just attract more than that.
Whether it’s on LinkedIn, at a party, or in an informational interview, focus on building those relationships and letting the benefits come naturally to you. This post was originally published on an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In our new YouTube series, "Well This Happened" it's your turn to be the career coach! What would you do if you asked a coworker when the baby was due and she responded with, "I'm not pregnant." Watch the video and cast your vote b posting a comment on Youtube. We'll select one person from the correct answers at random to win free membership to the Work It Daily program. Good luck!

SHOW MORE Show less

If you've ever wondered what a Work It Daily (WID) membership could do for you, a letter we got this week provides a powerful example...

SHOW MORE Show less

There are 3 things hiring managers are trying to initially assess about you in the job interview. This video walks you through what they are looking for and offers insights into the right information to give them. Be sure to check out our free resources mentioned in the video too. They are:

SHOW MORE Show less

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

This week, I did something that truly scared me. I sent an email to over 120,000 Work It Daily newsletter subscribers and asked them to answer the question, "What do we do?"

SHOW MORE Show less

A market correction is going to happen. When it does, layoffs will follow. I've been in the HR and recruiting industry for over two decades and have seen three recessions of varying sizes. In the video above, I explain how to tell when a recession is coming and what that means to you and your career. While many people will skip watching this. Or, will watch it and do nothing. I hope YOU are the smart, savvy professional who sees how important it is to prepare for unexpected, unwelcomed career circumstances.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this video, you'll learn how to tell if your career is plateauing due to the Executive Blues. You'll also learn what you can do to fix the problem and get your "executive energy" back so you can keep your career on track and set goals to reach new heights of success!

Want to watch the full video tutorial by J.T.?

CLICK HERE to get access!