Recently, (I confess — I don’t remember the source) I read an article about how to find a job in this tough economic climate. The author argued strongly that this is the time to get out there and network — as often as you can, as much as you can, as consistently as you can. One key point was this — once you find your job, you can’t quit networking. Because no job feels very safe or permanent these days. Thus, if you have to ramp up your networking the next time you lose your “new” job, it is already too late.
I hear from people everywhere that networking events are setting attendance records. At our own event, the First Friday Book Synopsis, which is a great networking + content event, this is certainly true.
Why is this so important? Because most people do not find jobs through their good friends — they find jobs through their “casual acquaintances.” And the more of those you have, the better off you will be in your job search. And the more networking you do, the more “casual acquaintances” you will have.
In the good and truly useful book, Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi quotes Margaret Wheatley: “Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.” The book is worth reading for its wisdom, its sugestions, and its inspiration from his “networking hall of fame” profiles interspersed throughout the book. Here is one piece of advice he gives: never keep score. Help all the people you can, and you will find such help coming back to you… (You can purchase my synopsis of the book, audio + handout, here).
We have some great networkers who attend our event. I always think of Jim Young, who I am fully convinced knows more people in more places than any human being could possibly know — he must have Jim Young clones out there reporting to him! And I am learning that Bob Morris, our blogging colleague, may be a close second. He is a master at developing relationships through e-mail with people, especially authors.
Yes, networking skill is a survival skill, and a new core competency, in this business and economic climate.
What about you? Are you connected — to as many people as possible? With apologies to John Wesley, maybe we should adopt this for a personal networking philosophy: “Do all the networking you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, with all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”