Article, Simple keys to successful networking by Alan Kearns :

Simple keys to successful networking; Professor Eric Morse shares his perspective
Alan Kearns

There I said it, the "N" word. Over 70% of professionals end up getting their new job through networking. My experience shows that most struggle in some way around this area and there are many good and valid excuses. The biggest struggle I have found is more to deal with internal resistance. This weeks podcast is with Eric Morse, the JR Shaw Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Western Ontario's Richard Ivey School of Business. He is one of Canada's leading thinkers in the area of the value of networks. Eric was one of the experts that I interviewed for my book Get the Right Job Right Now!

Here is what you may be thinking as you read this...

Only those people who can offer you the job are worth networking with. You have to know the "right people" to network effectively. How do you identify these people?

In my conversation with Eric, we deal with some of the common myths and break down networking into something all of us can do well.

"One of the things we have discovered is that opportunities come about by what you know and who you know. When those two things come about, you will uncover things that others may not see. It is amazing when you are open, and in my four years at the Ivey School of Business I have seen it time and time again. Opportunity arises out of the combination of what you know and who you know."

What you know. What do you have to offer the global market? The job market today is looking for very specific knowledge. It could come in many different ways - through executive development, formal certification, a Master's degree, an MBA or even a Ph.D. The more you develop your expertise in your area, the more value you will have to offer your network and the more your network will want to connect with you.

Who you know. There are different types of networks. There are people you meet at a party and exchange business cards with. These contacts may lead to new opportunities. There are also embedded relationships. These are ongoing ones, particularly over the longer term, with people whom you have a high level of trust. These embedded relationships are especially important and will likely offer you the most opportunities more quickly and more efficiently. Embedded relationships are usually built on time and infrastructure. The infrastructure could be alumni networks, community associations, churches or people you have worked with over a long period of time. It takes time to develop and shape your network. We get so busy that we don't take time to think about it. Ask yourself a couple of questions. With your experience and contacts, who do you need to know? What skills do you need to have? Once you take stock of the things you need to be successful, put yourself in situations where you will be around people who can make that happen. Who are the leading thinkers in the area you want to be in? These people can serve as a gateway to the field you want to move into. Pick up the phone and give them a call. You will be amazed how many people will respond and want to meet with you.

Along the road with you!
Alan Kearns


Alan Kearns is associated with the What Color Is Your Parachute? career search team, as well as being certified in the Highlands Career Assessment Methodology and the DISC Personal Profile. Alan was a founding member of the International Association of Coaches (IAC) and also has memberships with the Career Masters Institute (CMI) and the International Association of Career Management Professionals (IACMP).


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