Networking: Now A Survival Skill and a True Core Competency

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.”

3 thoughts on “Networking: Now A Survival Skill and a True Core Competency

  1. Charles Burleigh

    Randy,

    I haven’t had to do any sort of job search in the last 6 years, however as an independent software consultant I found myself caught in the slow down recently. That’s when I started learning about the value of networking.

    I started reading blogs by people who are Open Networkers on LinkedIn and other Social Networking sites. I started joining the Open Networker sites on LinkedIn and started reading the discussions. I also purchased some books about job searching these days and they all say that networking is the preferred way an employer hires.

    I’m convinced that if a person doesn’t develop their network that they are the ones that are going to suffer the most in this trying economic times.

    Regards,
    Charles Burleigh “Open Networker”
    Connect to me on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesburleigh
    Check out my blog: http://charlesburleigh.com

    Reply
  2. danielleschmidt

    Good article, thank you. As a career coach I agree that consistent networking is key in your career management. And it is important that you have one on one meetings with those you feel you can help and can help you.

    Reply
  3. Frank Summers

    A generous gift Randy; Nice going. I am ramping up! For what it’s worth my grandfather who operated a successful business in Cockrell Hill (Frank’s Radio & TV) and was a successful church leader for 35 years used to say to those he led, “People will die for a lack of a word of encouragement.” I think that sums up the importance of networking. My personal observation has been that people who genuinely love and value others have the greatest impact and influence for good – long term. In other words, networking is an activity that spans distance and time. I like your insights. Thanks & Blessings, Frank

    Reply

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