Do You Really Know How to Network?

Do You Really Know How to Network?

Want that job at IBM, Boeing or Google?  Are you still looking for employment?  Maybe it’s not the economy that’s holding you back!  It could be that you are not a very good net worker.

The essence of developing and maintaining business relationships are rooted in having excellent manners, of which, we sometimes forget. This is the first step for successful networking.  Appropriate networking protocol will separate you from the pack of job seekers who are out there in today’s intensely competitive job market; we’re all trying to find ways these days to survive in business. Start with good manners.

One of the most important aspects of networking is establishing and maintaining a relationship with people, not only when you are looking for a job, but always.  Nurturing business relationships is as important as the air we breathe. Successful networking is a process that begins with meeting someone who you want to get to know and turning this meeting into a relationship.

It’s painfully obvious to a person when you are using them to get a job or for further gain, so be genuine.  This can apply whether it is directly or through another individual who you are asking to help you get a job.  How many times have you attended a luncheon with a local business group where networking is encouraged, just to meet someone who quickly gives you a summary of his life, while scouring the room for another person to score a deal when he sees you may not offer him any immediate gain?

I have, many times, and I often wonder why they came to the event in the first place.  Sure, they may pass out many cards but because they have not respected the person they are speaking with, they haven’t established any connection with the people they are meeting; they’ve only collected cards.  If they do follow up with a note, which often they don’t, I have no reason to contact them because they made me feel unimportant.  

You can’t build a relationship with a person unless you spend time getting to know them and treating them with respect.  A proper way to work these networking groups is to pick two to three people and focus on getting to know them well enough to meet with at a later date. The key is to treat people with respect and to develop some intimacy with them.  Whether or not you have a reason to keep in contact with one another, they will always remember you for being polite, respectful and interested in who they are. 

Most of the CEO’s I have been able to get through to leave a message with have returned my phone calls whether they were interested in my proposition or not.  Many of the middle level management and sales people I have contacted do not return my phone calls unless they need something from me at the moment. It is by no accident the higher level executive is where they are because they understand the importance of relationships and proper protocol of returning phone calls. These are very busy people who take the time to call back.  They are neither arrogant nor afraid to face the caller.  

When I recruited for executives, the higher the position, the easier it was to recruit.  Once I had a direct number into the senior executive, it took only one phone call, to reach these people where I laid out my proposition and they accepted or declined.   On one occasion, I received a call back from a CEO from a major commercial real estate firm who ironically shared the same name with a Vice President in his company.  He called to tell me this and gave me the other guy’s direct line!  What a class act!

What surprised me the most was when I recruited was the lack of follow through from a number of people in the Vice President of Sales position; they missed out on some exceptional job opportunities.  When the market slowed in and many displaced mangers contacted me about a potential job, I called the candidates who were smart enough to return my phone call when they weren’t looking for a job. Who wouldn’t want to know an executive recruiter?  Every successful executive I know has a relationship with a “headhunter”.

Be helpful, treat people with respect, return phone calls and never be arrogant. 



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  • Great tips. I used to think of manners as a simple courtesy, but now I see they're useful for so much more.

  • Amen, Jackie. Thanks for the comment! TLR

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