I’m seeing a lot of blog postings lately on networking. With all the bad economic news, people are starting to realize that it really is other people who can help them, and meeting other people is called “networking”. I saw a great post the other day that said The worst thing about networking is the word itself“, and I agree with her. Everyone is constantly meeting new people – some you will quickly forget, others may become good friends over the course of time. “Networking” is no more than making sure
Purely professional online networking, Linkedin is the undisputed leader. Jason Alba just published a new version of his book I’m on LinkedIn — Now What?. If you’re not using LinkedIn, or not using it effectively, this inexpensive, quickly read book will get you started. You will learn not only how to improve your own profile and make yourself more “findable”, but how to use the new features and searches to connect to people who can help your career.
I’m also seeing more people, and more different kinds of people, on social networking groups like Facebook. Facebook is almost completely a social site, full of games, interaction, and fun. While it can be a way to deepen a connection with a professional colleague, it can be difficult to decide exactly what, and how much, to share.
And as great as electronic networking tools can be, they are not a substitute for meeting actual people in person, spending time with them, and finding things you have in common. That is what causes real connections, makes you remember them, and might make them remember you.
So make time to have coffee with a friend, lunch with a colleague, or contact an old employer just to catch up. You never know when a casual contact will provide you with a valuable nugget of information, or even better, will give you the chance to help someone else out. Reach out now, when you don’t need anything, and your contacts will be more willing to take your calls when you do need something.