The Fine Art of Networking

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Feb 19, 2019

“When I worked for American Airlines I was laid off due to budget cuts. So, with that being said, I had to work my back-up plan and drive for Uber/Lfyt. During my rides, I always made conversations with my passengers.

One time I picked up a couple that was heading to the airport for a vacation getaway. I always ask my passengers ,‘What do you do?’

The lady replied back, ‘I’m an IT project manager that leads the IT PMO office at a company called Alcon.’ I told her that I’m an IT project manager as well.

She asked me if I was on LinkedIn, and I said yes. We exchanged information, back in July, and she told me to make sure I look on the company website for jobs in January.

Fast forward, I was hired in Jan 2019 for Novartis, the parent company of Alcon and went to a meeting, and behold, the same lady that I picked up as a passenger was sitting in the workshop that I was in.

To sum this up, make sure that you always network and make connections, you never know when they will pay off. Always keep your head up and be patient”

Build relationships

That was a post from a friend of mine, Anthony Ward on Facebook the other day. When I read it, I immediately reached out to get his permission to tell his story. And by telling his story I want everyone to realize that networking will, and always should be a key part of your employment strategy. But most importantly, build the relationship first. Like a lot of professionals, Anthony got caught up in cost-cutting. However I always counsel people, look at it as a blank canvas; you can now start over and paint your own masterpiece.

One of my father’s favorite sayings: “Dig the well before you need the water.” So many people today do not want to do the digging. They look for shortcuts. They blast out their CV to any and everyone, and in the vast majority of cases, the recipients have no connection to them or their goals.

What NOT to do

As I speak at conference throughout the world, I am sometimes dismayed by the many requests I get from people. The boldness of their approach just floors me: “Glad to connect. My CV is attached. I request that you review it and give me a job in your esteemed organization.” Or the ones that are addressed, “Dear Sir/Madam.”

I always reply kindly, explaining we have no openings for their particular skills. But often enough, this person – practically a stranger to me – will write back along the lines of,“That is not problem, as I have many skills. Just give the open job as I am a fast learner…..”

Or sometimes what I get back is, “No problem, just send it out to all of your networks to help me.”

Strategic job hunting

One of the great sayings I have heard is that, “Getting a job is a job within itself.”

What that means to me is that you have to do research on the company that you are interested in. Research the people you are going to reach out to. Who are these people and how are they connected to your goal? Do you know them or does someone in your network know them? Network with your peers. How many of your friends from past jobs are you keeping in touch with? The more bodies that you can touch the more the web spreads out.

When you make a connection on LinkedIn, do not under any circumstances immediately send a CV asking for a job. That just does not make sense. You do not know these people. The notion of meeting someone online today and making a request almost immediately is a foolish approach

What impressed me about Anthony’s approach was that he did not request anything from his passenger. Just having the conversation built the relationship and made the connection. Exercise restraint when you connect with people, regardless of how desperate you are. That desperation comes across.

Build it now

We have all during our career a stumbling block. Or we will. That is why it is so very important to connect with as many people as possible when times are good. Make the relationship deposits daily. When the time comes for you to make that withdrawal, there will be no danger of being overdrawn. Build relationships with people you work with everyday and on every job. Use the concept of networking everywhere you go. It could be on your commute, your workout at the gym; any type activity.

The well is waiting to be dug, get your shovel and start connecting because you never know when or who can help you move forward.

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