Are You an Active Networker?

By Feldman, Debra | Journal of Accountancy, August 2009 | Go to article overview

Are You an Active Networker?


Feldman, Debra, Journal of Accountancy


In today's economy, it is more prudent than ever to reconnect if you have not been an active networker. You never know when you may need your contacts, and it is better to offer them assistance now before you need help yourself. Here are some ideas for jump-starting your network's development and making more and better connections purposefully.

1. Expand beyond your comfort zone and reach out to those you don't already know. If the individuals you keep in touch with regularly are not producing enough high quality referrals, do not wait for things to change. This is your signal that it is time to stretch your connections.

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2. Choose your connections for their affiliations, reputations and position. Prepare an introduction that can be passed along detailing how you can resolve challenges and ask your contact to forward your request for an introduction. Brand yourself clearly as a go-to person so that whenever anyone requests a referral matching your credentials, you are the first person who pops into their mind.

3. Rely on third-party referrals to bypass gatekeepers, increase your credibility and build trust. Research who you want to know and ask your contacts about using their connections to get you introduced. A personal recommendation is usually better received than an unsolicited letter, e-mail or phone call.

4. Talk with decision makers, not HR, at target employers. To unearth unadvertised jobs, position yourself on the right person's radar for when something appropriate becomes available. Making an outstanding first impression not only puts your name in play now, but hiring managers are also networked and can connect you to their colleagues elsewhere.

5. Choose and nurture your target contacts purposefully for their potential value to your job search and your career's future. While you may tend to focus on establishing connections that will yield the new job you need now, any new, well-placed contact is likely to eventually deliver. Even if someone is unhelpful, send a gracious and prompt thank you. You want to maintain an unblemished reputation for being polite and professional. When you have a positive rapport, keep in touch. You made the effort to network purposefully, don't sacrifice your investment after you happily land a new job. …

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