Effective Networking Tips

Networking is essential to get ahead in any avenue, weather its your career, find a handyman or the best doctor for your kid. The people you surround yourself with reflect your values and aspirations. In a down job market with so many people applying for jobs, a strong network is a definite advantage. But how do you get the right network around you and ensure that your friend or colleague thinks of you for that perfect job?

The perfect way to do this is to not do it at all. If your aim when you befriend someone is to use them in some way you will not make a good first impression. A disingenuous person can be spotted a mile away. Instead it’s better to find a way to help the person you want in your network, this will being you to their notice in a positive manner. Do not expect the opposite party to care about your needs first. You need to reach a situation where people want to help you when you ask for it.

Quality is much more important that quantity. Do not try to get the whole world in your network; no one really has the time to keep up a million friendships. Pick and choose a few people who you will enjoy spending time with and who can also help you get ahead. More meaningful interactions with fewer people will result in a much better relationship. Twitter and Facebook are great tools if used properly, and they should never replace actual conversations or connecting over coffee.

Do not over reach. An effective network is one that is comprised mostly of peers; these are the people who will connect the best with you and who will take you along with them when they move to a new company or up the ladder. You have to remember to return the favor as often as possible though. Trying to make friends with the CEO when you are a junior accounts executive will just ensure that you irritate the boss, and that is not the way to get ahead. Also in a situation with a skewed equation you will never find an opportunity to be the helper.

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