What Your Network Needs From You

What Your Network Needs From You

By Randy Block

How often do I hear: “I am networked out!”  Or “I hate networking!”


By now, most of you know that the following actions have provided limited if any results:

  1. Sending résumé to a friend asking them to “keep their eyes open.
  2. Asking your contacts if they know of any jobs for you.
  3. Attending networking meetings attended by mostly unemployed people.


Briefly, networking is defined as an exchange of information.  It has nothing to do with selling or job search.  It is about building relationships based on common interests and values.


People in your network who share your common interests and values want to know exactly how they can help you. Keep in mind that an adult knows an average of 200 people.  Quite frankly, you just don’t know who is in their network, how many there are or how valuable those contacts may be.  Even if you knew only 10 people, that’s 2500 people to whom you have access.


Help your network help you by implementing the following steps before you contact them:


  1. Have a clear and unique personal brand. Much is being written today about personal branding.  Every organization, whether it is a profit or a non-profit, has just 2 basic pain points that keep their leaders up at night.  They are:  (1) Are we as productive as we can be? And (2) How can we increase our revenue?   In today’s economy, your brand and/or your solution must be relevant to at least one of these two points. I recommend Karen Kang’s Book “Branding Pays” http://amzn.to/1OuzjOv
  2. Target an industry and/or market segment within that industry. Use whatever criteria works for you.  Criteria suggestions are:  Emerging markets such as green (solar and wind power, biodiesel etc.), established growing markets such as health care, “hot” segments such as mobile applications and social media.  Much of this is based on the principle of “follow the money.”  The best free source of information is your local public library. Organizations like to be chosen, not résumé blasted.
  3. Make a target list of companies which interest you greatly. Criteria can include, but not be limited to: location, size, proffer or non-profit, public or private sectors.


You are now ready to talk to your contacts.  Share your brand and your targets. You are asking them:  “Whom do you know in these 10 companies?”  It doesn’t matter if there is an opening or not.  It doesn’t matter if the referral is the hiring manager or is in a different department.   Keep in mind that like people have a tendency to refer like people.  When given a referral, be sure you learn the nature of their relationship.  Your close friend’s referral to another close friend always results in a meeting inside your target company.


The goal here is that 80% of your time (like Monday through Thursday) spent on search should be having meetings such as those described above. On Fridays you can sit behind the computer all day and play the “Black Hole Cyberspace Game.”




(c) 2016 Randy Block. All rights reserved.



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