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So, I’m still waiting to find out if I got the job. If it feels like it’s taking forever, it is. It’s been a long process. Hopefully I’ll hear some good news in the next couple days. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, but who you know when it comes to jobs,” is very fitting in my case. I wouldn’t have ever heard about the job if it wasn’t for a friend of mine.
A recent survey completed by LinkedIn shows that 85% of jobs are not obtained through blind online résumé submissions, but through networking. Networking is one of those buzzwords that I’ve never paid enough attention to. I constantly hear that I should be networking and expanding my network because it will be beneficial for me in the future.
As an introvert, that sounds exhausting. I can’t imagine working 8-10 hours a day and then going out for drinks with a bunch of strangers to build my network. Just the thought of it, makes my introvert self want to scream for silence. By the way, if you are a introvert OR an extrovert, I highly recommend reading the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain. It provides great insight into how an introvert operates. Reading it was great self-reflection for me!
Outside of my very first job, every other job that I’ve had has involved someone in my network sharing an opportunity with me. So while I may not have called what I was doing “networking”, I am a prolific networker at work. As I have learned over the years, networking is about personal relationships.
I am constantly looking for opportunities to introduce people to each other to make connections. I never expect anything back in return. But, strangely enough, that has led to some doors being open. I was just nominated for a mentoring award, which is incredibly bizarre since I don’t have any official mentees.
My Terrible Networking Story
I wasn’t always this way though. At first I was a neophyte when it came to networking. I have a horrifying story when I completely blew it. My wife had just had our son, and I connected with an old college acquaintance on Linkedin. While I was on paternity leave, this acquaintance and I decided to meet up.
During the conversation, it was apparent that he was quite successful. He had just started a new company and was looking to hire quality individuals. I don’t know if it was a lack of sleep from the new baby or what, but I didn’t connect that he was basically pitching me.
Instead of me selling myself on how I could add value to his new company, I talked about my narrow vision for my career. It quickly became a busted meeting.
I berated myself on the car ride home because I knew I blew it, and I have no idea why I was so self-absorbed in that moment. I tried to touch base with him a couple of days later, but I haven’t heard from him since. It’s unfortunate how the situation went. But everything happens for a reason, right?
Rich People Network
I saw this quote the other day by Robert Kiyosaki, and it really got me thinking. “The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work.”
In 2011, Adam Rifkin was named the best networker by Fortune magazine. He believes that you should network with 1 to 3 people every day. He introduces the concept of the 5-minute-favor in which you give 5 minutes of your day to someone else. This can be done a variety of ways. The most common are (1) making an introduction to two people who have a mutual interest, (2) providing feedback to someone on something they share, and (3) making yourself available to answer a question for someone.
Even if you are incredibly busy, you can probably still spare 5 minutes. According to Tom Korley, 79% of wealthy people network 5+ hours each month while only 16% of poor people network that much. That breaks down to 10 minutes a day that the rich spend networking.
On top of that, I’m sure you could find a little bit of time if you gave up one of your tv shows. 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day while only 23% of poor people watch so little TV.
So readers, I’m starting up a challenge for February. It’s called the “28 Day Network Challenge”. For the month of February, I challenge you to look for ways to develop and grow your network. Look to give to, rather than take from, your network.
I want to open my network up to all of you. Feel free to connect with me any way you’d like. I’m happy to share 5 minutes of my time to help you out.
So what do you say, are you in?