You’re Networking The Wrong Way — Here’s A More Effective Method
We’ve all heard how important networking is for career success. But simply collecting superficial connections like trading cards won’t get you very far. Too many people make the mistake of aggressively adding hundreds of strangers in their industry as connections on LinkedIn or attendees at networking events, without considering if those people can truly be beneficial to their career aspirations.
Instead of adding people just because they are in the same industry, connect with a few individuals who can open doors for you. Focus on building real relationships with these people. 10 key people are more beneficial than 100 people who can’t do much for you.
For example, seek out people in senior roles who have influence at your target company or field. Make an arrangement to learn about their career journeys. Ask how they broke into and rose up in the industry. Discuss their challenges and wins. Then share your own background, interests, and goals.
When I started my journey into business, I made sure to connect with the people closest to the top. I didn’t find value in connecting with employees because we were on the same level. It’s true that everyone knows somebody — however — the trajectory of leveraging my connections has proven to be a useful method of navigating through business.
With regular, thoughtful contact over time, they may lend their expertise to coach you or make introductions to hiring managers when positions open up.
Connect with key players outside your company who your own boss or other leaders know and respect. Get insights from them on the latest industry trends and innovations. Offer to collaborate or volunteer your skills and knowledge to work on projects together. By organically developing these connections, you expand your sphere of visibility and advocacy.
The name of the networking game is quality over quantity. Identify and cultivate relationships with those whose credibility, reputation, and influence can truly advance your career — not just people who work in the same field. Be strategic and genuine in developing your network, and you’ll go far.