It’s not the direct connections within our networks but the 2nd and 3rd degree contacts (friends of friends) that yield the most opportunity.
In preparing to speak at a networking event this week, I realized how true this is. Looking back, my initial interview at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia came through my college alumni network. The head of HR was the wife of a fellow alum. I didn’t know her but I had worked with her husband and had built a solid reputation.
I took an informal poll on Facebook and Twitter to see how others had benefitted from their networks. Several landed jobs through introductions. One even built a successful business with publicity solely from her network.
Using online networking tools like LinkedIn.com, it’s easy to see not only whom you are connected to but your 2nd and 3rd degree contacts as well. Recently I was on Martha Stewart Living Radio with Krista Canfield of LinkedIn.com and was amazed to see that I have almost 5.5 million contacts when looking at my network this way. To see how far your network can go, put your profile online at LinkedIn.com and start building your contacts!
I also recommend following these key principles for effective networking:
- DEFINE: where you want to go with your career, what title or role you aspire to & what opportunity you seek.
- ASK: share this information with your network to see which “friends of friends” might exist to help you reach your goals. Don’t forget to include high school, college, employer and community contacts in your network.
- GIVE: be someone people want to help, share your contacts and make connections for others, take a genuine interest in what others are doing and find proactive ways to help them reach their goals. Give before you need help.
Expand your network and you will expand your opportunities! Please share your tips and comments below on networking. I’d love to hear the networking success stories, tips & advice that worked for you!
- For my fellow Villanova alums looking to expand their networks, I’ll be speaking at a networking event sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia chapter this Tuesday December 1st at 6:30pm on campus. To sign up, click here.
- For those of you who can tune in, I’ll be live on SIRIUS 112/ XM 157 on Living Today with Mario Bosquez at 1:30pm this Tuesday December 1st taking career questions at 1-866-675-6675. Click here for a free 30-day trial of SIRIUS!