Book Review: Networking is Dead

We all know that we need to network to find people to hire or to get a new job. But too often, our networking is random. That’s why you should read Networking Is Dead: Making Connections That Matter. Wilson and Mohl make the case that you should network with purpose. It’s not the networking is dead, per se. It’s that you want to think about how you network. You want to make “connections that matter.” I don’t disagree with them. But it’s difficult to know when someone will matter, if you are a hiring manager or a consultant. But, then they go on to say how you cultivate your network. Now, we’re talking! I liked a number of the ideas: that your network has Takers, Givers, and Exchangers. Takers always take, take, take, never giving back. Givers are very generous, providing feedback, becoming clients, providing leads or information. Exchangers provide assistance without keeping score. The book goes on to discuss the five levels of exchange: Social exchange Information exchange Knowledge-Wisdom exchange Connection exchange Opportunity exchange The higher up the levels you work, the more valuable you are to the people on your network. You want to think about how you connect and what you exchange with the people on your network. Networking as “spray-and-pray” for business cards is dead, and should be dead. That’s never worked. Being an open networker on LinkedIn? Well, it’s fine if you want to collect people. I collect people, but even I want to know why you want to link with me. Stupid networking is dead. Be a smart networker. Use this book and...

Getting the Most From All of Your Alumni Networks

You might think that your only alumni network is from your school. But you have corporate alumni networks too. I bet you’ve worked for some great companies, or some large companies, or for some great managers, or with some great people. Those corporate alumni networks are just as valuable as your university alumni network. So, how do you utilize that network? First, find that LinkedIn alumni network. Chances are good that one exists. If it doesn’t exist, create it. Now, join it. And, if it’s a school list, join that school list the day you graduate. Join the List I cannot emphasize this point enough. Your school alumni list does you no good if you do not join it. If you have attended the school for at least two years, join the list. If your school alumni are uptight and really want to know you’ve graduated, fine. But if you were really close to graduating, or you should have graduated, ask to join the list. Chances are good they will let you. The list does you no good if you don’t join it. And, if you worked for a company that was a pioneer in its field, or a cool startup, or if the people who worked there shared some significant history, someone has created a mailing list. From that mailing list, likely someone started a LinkedIn list. Find it and get on that list. Joining the list doesn’t make you a “joiner” or an extrovert; it makes you a smart networker. You need an “in” with people, and joining the lists provides you a warmer introduction. So join...

Networking for a New Job or New Candidates

I’ve been reading Pfeffer’s Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t and enjoying it a lot. I’ve had a few aha moments, and one has to do with networking for a new job. Here’s a quote: Consequently, an optimal networking strategy is to know a lot of different people from different circles, have multiple organizational affiliations in a variety of different industries and sectors that are geographically dispersed, but not necessarily to know the people well or to develop close ties with them. Think about it for a minute, though. If you already know people well, you know the jobs they have to offer. You know who the candidates are. If you really want to find new people or a new job, you need to exploit your connections in ways you haven’t exploited them before. (I mean exploit in the sense of “make the best use of”.) Which of your networking sites allows you many different people from different circles, who may geographically dispersed? It doesn’t matter where people work; they know of jobs all over the world. It matters that they are not your close friends. Think about it. I...

Networking and Recommendations

People often use my network to ask me for back-door references about people I know. Sometimes, I can help. Sometimes, I can’t. If I don’t know someone well enough to provide a reference, I don’t. For example, if I consulted at a client for a few days, I don’t know anyone well enough, other than my primary contact, to provide a reference. But one thing I am happy to do is to provide a recommendation on LinkedIn. I still have to know someone pretty well, or know an aspect of their work well enough to write a recommendation. But a recommendation is not a reference. And, if I need to make it narrow enough to be useful, that’s ok with me. Don’t ask anyone for a recommendation unless they know your work well. It’s ok if you only know a specific aspect of their work. For people like me, sometimes a recommendation can be narrow enough to talk about our writing or training or speaking or facilitating. That’s fine. But, if you don’t know my consulting capabilities, you can’t give me a recommendation about my consulting. In the same way, if I’ve never seen you manage people or projects, I can’t provide a recommendation about your management. If you want a recommendation, offer one first. Make sure you are specific enough so that your reader can find the recommendation valuable. With enough specific recommendations, your profile readers can learn enough about you to ask questions of a real reference. That’s the real value of a recommendation. When you write a recommendation, you are telling the world, “I saw this...

Becoming a Great Networker: Connecting With Others

If you are hiring people now, you know that there are plenty of great candidates. How do you discover the best of them? Often, great candidates come to your attention because of their networking. That means if you want to be a great hiring manager, you need to pay attention to and cultivate your network. I was coaching a manager recently who was going through a rough patch in his organization. I asked what the worst thing was that could happen. He said, “I could be fired and have to find a new job.” Since he’s been working for more than 20 years, I said, “You have plenty of contacts, surely you can at least network with people, right?” He sheepishly said, “I have not been keeping up with my networking.” Ouch. Managers need to develop and maintain their networks, especially if they are not looking for a job. People will see you as a resource. You will hear about the people looking for jobs before others do. You can provide candidates information on people in your network who are hiring. You can introduce people. People at all levels will want to stay in touch with you. (If you’ve been to any of my management talks, you know I talk about getting rid of people who can’t jell with a team or can’t do the work. If you have one of those employees, you can find someone in your network to take that person off your hands. People work better in some places rather than others. Take advantage of your network to move those people out of your organization....

How to Network for Senior Job

A number of my friends of long standing and colleagues are looking for jobs. (Friends of long standing is another way to say old friends without calling them old They all have over 20 years of experience. The way they used to find jobs–through recruiters–is not working. Sure, recruiters have some openings, but most organizations are not advertising and not using recruiters even for senior-level jobs. Here’s what I know about: Network with everyone you know. Don’t forget school and previous employer alumni groups. Make sure you are on the job boards suitable for your potential positions. See if any local or national associations or user groups have job boards you can use. Use social media to connect with people. I’m sure there are more options. Do you have any ideas? My friends and colleagues would like to know. Please comment....