How to network with the well-networked

April 26, 2010 at 12:56 am Leave a comment

When asked what advice helped them land a job, the newly hired often point to tips about networking — saying that figuring out how to network effectively cleared a path to their new employer. One friend and reader of this blog said she found one piece of advice — network with the well-networked — especially helpful. But, she said, it took her a bit of work to figure out just how to identify and then how best to approach these folks.

I heartily recommend networking with the well-networked — and so glad it worked out for my friend! — because it makes sense on several fronts. First, the well-networked have more contacts to share (and let’s face it, networking is a numbers game). Secondly, people who are good at networking presumably enjoy meeting people and connecting people with one another, and are more likely to do this for you than someone who isn’t good at it and doesn’t like it. Also, the well-networked often are looking for opportunities to expand their circle so they can help others (and improve their own networking reputation) so they’re more likely to let you in.

Yet identifying and connecting with good networkers in a meaningful way can take some doing. Here are a few tips:

*Play the numbers game. When looking for good networkers, try to determine the size of their network. Social-networking sites can make this easier. For example, one of LinkedIn’s main claims to fame (see March 2 post, “Using LinkedIn to get your next job”) is that you can see a potential or actual contact’s number of connections and then see the number of connections that those connections have (second and third-degree connections, the site calls them). While numbers  are only one indication of how truly networked someone may be (if most of those connections are weak, it may not help you very much) someone with many contacts online likely is well-connected in the real world as well. And in the actual world, ask around. Often, there is someone in your circle who seems to know everyone — if you don’t know that person well, ask someone you do know for an introduction (and online introductions work well here, as these folks are often very busy). And then try to find out who in their network also is well-connected — this is how you will bolster your network relatively quickly and effectively.

*Get involved in some organizations and connect with those in leadership positions who appear to know a lot of people. This is a natural way to meet and get to know the well-connected. Groups that are good meeting grounds include alumni organizations (most colleges and universities of any size have alumni organizations with Washington area chapters — some of them quite active), groups connected to your profession, and neighborhood, civic or volunteer organizations. Ask for introductions here as well — and better yet, get active and volunteer for committees and task forces key to the organization, where you’ll likely get to know its leaders. It’s natural for a one-on-one chat  about the group’s activities to lead to talk about what you do (and then your job search), and that’s when the connections will start to happen. Also, if you show real interest in and dedication to a group that a well-connected person cares about, they’re more likely to want to help you and make connections for you.

*Don’t just seek help but find a way to help others in their network. I keep saying it, but it’s absolutely true (and I see this all the time!) — people who all of a sudden turn up asking for help (and then scamper once they’ve gotten what they need and never seem to offer help themselves) are at the bottom of most lists when it comes to making introductions and helping enlarge their networks. Yet most well-networked people would be willing to help those who have something to offer in terms of contacts, sources or ideas. Think about what you can bring to the table and then do so; you’ll be surprised how much more quickly your emails or phone calls will be returned.

*Keep them in the loop. When someone has helped you in your search — especially if they have shared their network with you and gone to some trouble to help you make contacts — stay in touch with them. Unless they give you a firm indication that you’ve become an annoyance, regularly email them with updates on how your search has proceeded. Especially let them know — through a brief, friendly email — if one of their contacts has set up an interview for you or passed along your resume. Even if you haven’t landed yet, they’ll be pleased to know that they’ve made a difference, and may have other contacts to share. (Remember, busy people aren’t necessarily going to get back in touch with you; you need to make the effort.) And when you do get a job, definitely let them know and thank them for their specific role in helping you land well. And stay in touch going forward — you never know when you’ll need them again.

*A nytimes.com piece provides some real hope for job hunters — according to government and private surveys, hiring is up in a number of professions. And one source, Indeed.com, says hiring is strengthening appreciably in several industries including newspapers and media (imagine that!), with the number of listings in this category up 30 percent in March from a year earlier. Here’s the story:

Rays of Hope for Job Hunters

And now for some job leads to check out in this new work week:

*For those with specific foreign language skills, SAIC in Reston is looking for an editor/linguist:

Editor Linguist
SAIC – Reston, VA
has an opening for an Editor/Arabic Linguist. 1… appraisals Make recommendations for researcher training plans or to address specific deficiencies…
From ClearedConnections


*Kindred Healthcare has an opening in D.C. for a senior director of communication and public policy:

Senior Director, Communication and Public Policy
Kindred Healthcare – Washington, DC
of Communications and serve as a communications… inquires. Work with the communications team to provide strategic communications counsel and message…
From Military Community Job Center


*For the job hunters among us with an advertising background (or pass this along to one that you know!), Foreign Policy in D.C. is looking for a director of advertising:

Director, Advertising
Foreign Policy – Washington, DC
stories and unique angles. Passport , the award-winning blog by FP ‘s editors, has been joined by a host of new columnists, including Tom Ricks (winner of 2010…
From washingtonpost.com


*The American Red Cross in D.C. has an opening for a senior associate in corporate partnerships:
Senior Associate, Corporate Partnerships
American Red Cross – Washington, DC
Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent experience) in Communications, Business, Organizational Development or a… written and oral communication skills, including…
From washingtonpost.com


*Platts has two openings in D.C. — one for a reporter to cover the nuclear power industry and another for an associate editor:

Platts

Reporter

Location: Washington, D.C.

Platts is seeking a reporter to provide coverage on the North American nuclear power industry.  This person will report on subjects such as existing nuclear power plant operations, plans for new nuclear power plants, US uranium production, and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission policies. This person will provide coverage for our flagship Nucleonics Week newsletter, daily Nuclear News Flashes and biweekly publications Inside NRC and NuclearFuel. Responsibilities also include filing to Platts real-time news service. The position is DC based.  If you are a reporter with four to six years of experience, particularly in covering energy or business topics, we encourage you to apply:  https://MH.taleo.net/careersection/3/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=12523

Associate Editor
Location: Washington, D.C.

Platts is seeking an Associate Editor who will report on the trading activity in the natural gas markets and regulatory development. The role is key to gathering pricing information and market intelligence, and then forming that information into price assessments and published market commentaries, news updates and in-depth analysis stories.  This position is located in our Washington, D.C. office. https://MH.taleo.net/careersection/3/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=12435

*And last but not least in today’s leads, Capitol News Connection has a part-time opening in D.C. for a news videographer:

Capitol News Connection

News Videographer

Location: Washington, D.C.

Capitol News Connection seeks a videographer for an ongoing two-day-a-week project in Washington, D.C. Candidate must have a HD digital camera, pro audio gear and laptop editing system capable of processing and producing HD – H.264 video content in 16:9 format. Project involves shooting and editing two one-minute news reports every Thursday and Friday. Email resume and links to your videos to Hoag Levins at HLevins@CNCnews.org. Put “Videographer” in the subject field. No phone calls.


Happy hunting!

Jodi

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