Every year around Thanksgiving people I know start to prepare their Xmas list of who to send a greeting card to for the holiday season and which card it will be; who to buy a gift for and how much to spend on this person; who to call on the phone and speak to personally and who to email, text or tweet a Seasons Greetings; and who to forget this year because they have fallen into disfavor. Whether done for personal or business purposes this is called relationship management.
Why December? Because in the spirit of the holiday we tend to remember the people we have forgotten all year long, and at this time of year we are not embarrassed to reach out to them to keep the relationship alive.
Well the same holds true for networking. For many job seekers, networking is like Xmas. They contact people they know only on special occasions, like when they are out of work and need help, and some people will actually wait until Xmas – even in May – because they’re too embarrassed to reach out to a person they lost contact with to ask for help.
You and I know Xmas is a once a year occurrence, but networking is a year round endeavor, and it is not only for people who are out of work, people looking for a new job, or for people who work in sales. Networking is something that should be done by everyone 365 days a year throughout their career because networking is how you get ahead and stay ahead in business and in life.
But what is networking really. For many today it is having 100-500+ connections on LinkedIn. Well that’s delusional. LinkedIn is one way to network but people tend to forget what this social media is, why it was created and how to best use it. LinkedIn is a RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT tool literally and figuratively. It is not meant to collect connections from people you barely know, rather it is meant to stay in contact with people you know, and more so to find people you should know and develop a relationship with them.
What I am going to say next is nothing new but what I would like you to do is take it as a personal challenge and make a pledge to implement these actions over the next 30 days.
1) Go over all your contacts on LinkedIn and see if they really belong there. If they do reach out to them today, preferably with a phone call and if that is not possible electronically and say hello, find out what they are doing, and ask if there is anything you can do for them.
2) If you do not know who they are and/or you have no use for them sever the relationship; keep your connections meaningful and proactive.
3) Make an A list of contacts and look over their connections to see who you should get to know and then ask them to introduce you these people.
4) Join groups where you can learn, contribute, get known, and network.
5) Start at least 1 discussion in each group once a week and respond to at least 3 discussions a week.
6) Make a list of people you worked for, worked with, went to school with or know socially who you are not LinkedIn to and not spoken to for a long period of time and reach out to them.
Remember networking is establishing and maintaining relationships and being there to help others in their time of need, and knowing you can call upon them in your time of need.
As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes and LinkedIn pages at no cost. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org