By: Clarissa Rivera
Things just seem to fall into place for them. They acquire high paying jobs, attend exclusive concerts/sporting events/venue openings that were sold out weeks ago, and even their significant other is out of their league by an inexplicable margin; all without putting forth any noticeable effort.
If you’re like most level-headed people, you might assume that this person achieved everything through hard work, perseverance, and just a little bit of luck- the kind that fate affords us all. They deserve it all, right? Wrong! These people are the “people person” archetype. They are masters of building and maintaining relationships. They network.
You know how your mom looks passed everything that’s wrong with you and loves you no matter what? That is what networking can do for you. Knowing the right people can go beyond what you know and what you’ve learned through years of patient drudgery. Creating a web of connections opens up opportunity exponentially. Your connections will scratch your back and put in a good word for you. They’ll see to it that you get that interview, phone call, email, or potential customer. The only caveat being that you do the same for them. Reciprocation is the life blood of networking. There will always be “quid pro quo” as they call it. As long as you accept this then your networking will be fruitful.
The rewards of networking can come at the most unexpected or even desperate times. Having something like a catalog of professional connections can mean the difference between rent and eviction; living in peace and living with parents; amount past due and amount in full. Also, consider joining LinkedIn if you haven’t already done so. You can add your professional memberships/organizations to your profile for added visibility. Invite your newly formed contacts to “connect” with you and continue expanding your network by updating your professional history.
Always exchange contact information or business cards, and please, don’t forget to follow-up with them! Maintain a centralized location for your contacts to live. You’ll want to make sure that their information includes their name, email address, phone number, as well as how, when, and where you met with any additional pertinent notes to help your memory in the future as well as your new contact. After all, It is all about relationships. Build them and keep them strong. Working together is much easier than doing it alone. It’s not what you know but who you know.