Build Your Network
Robert Kiyosaki once said ‘the richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work’. It is easy to get trapped in a world revolving around technology, where finding a job involves resumes submitted online, job postings found through LinkedIn, networking a.k.a becoming friends on Facebook. Sitting at home, feet on the coffee table, laptop propped open, coffee in hand; this is how we network now. We are forgetting that creating successful connections also involves a face to face conversation at some point.
The internet makes it easier to keep in touch with your network and learn about new opportunities, so please do not stop using it, however let’s not get too comfortable on that couch.
We are not saying to simply throw on a suit and go chat up strangers on the street; start by talking to the people you already know. The people you are already acquainted with are your most valuable resource. The person sitting in the desk across from you, the person pricing a job for you, they all have a network of their own. Talk to them, invest in getting to know them and before you know it, their network could start becoming yours as well. The only log-in information necessary is a handshake and a hello.
To start the conversation, ask the questions, and keep these tips in mind.
Look to gain knowledge and insight, don’t treat it as though you are asking for a job. The job may come later, but the early conversations are to create a connection.
- Have a general idea of what you want to talk to different people about, think of possible topics of discussion. Obsessing over it, however, will not help you.
- Think people, not positions.
- Invest yourself. This will take work, it will take time, it will take energy; think of what you could gain from it though.
- Be confident, be self-aware. Take a look in the mirror; what sets you apart? Utilize your existing strengths and knowledge.
- A network is not a tattoo, once it is there, it is not permanent. You will have to cultivate it and continue the conversations in order for it to continue to exist.
Networking is like farming, you reap what you sow. The more energy and effort you put into it, the better results you will see. It may be awkward at first but like anything the more you do it the easier it becomes. So take heart and put yourself out there – the ‘old fashioned’ way. After all, there is no better place to invest your time than in yourself.