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January 24, 2019 | 01:56 AM
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07.05.2013How Much Does Networking Work for Business

Contrary to popular belief it is not a highly effective tool when compared to building one's resume.


Ken Sundheim, Forbes.com

Today, I asked to do a panel for university students at Baruch College (a college full of very impressive students – and thank you to Chanah Schnoll for inviting me on the subject of getting a job after college graduation.  Unsurprisingly, during the panel there were questions about networking and utilizing networking to get ahead in one’s career.

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This is a question asked at all university lectures I give.

Therefore, I believe the following questions / statements must be raised in regards to business networking for young professionals because, contrary to popular belief it is not a highly effective tool when compared to building one’s resume.

The Basic Networking Principal

  • It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you and what you can do for them – At a young age, as a recent college graduate you are yet to make a name for yourself, therefore when you engage someone to “network”, you must have a purpose as to how you can meet their needs.

You see, in life, everyone is trying to reach their own goals and those individuals will actively seek out others who can help them achieve those desired results.  Everything else, will take a backseat.

Here’s a great example: when you look at a picture of your family or a group of friends, what do you see first?  The answer is that we typically look at ourselves.

Maybe it’s a human flaw, but it’s the way people think and, if you want to be successful networking, you first must understand the goals of the person whom you’re approaching and how you fit into the equation.

Though, if you don’t fit into the equation, don’t get discouraged rather get driven to gain the right skills so you can get to that level.  It may take years for you to be able to bring something to the table for an individual, but work hard enough and eventually they will want to network with you.

The Unwritten Rule of Networking

The rule of thumb is that you can only contact a person one time (unless they are a personal contact / family contact) and that individual will typically put you off their radar if they don’t find you compelling (or your skills compelling enough).

Think one shot, one kill.  Also, instead of thinking of networking as a numbers game, think of it as a calculated way to start a relationship done methodically and only after the proper research and work is done.

The Correlation Between Networking and Sports

While in college, think of networking as playing a collegiate sport.

Question…

Do you think it’s best to contact the professional coaches your freshman year after you sat on the bench or do you think that it’s best to wait until you have two to three years of successful statistics behind your playing time to get in touch with them?

Often, universities will not introduce scouts to freshman because it does them no good and they want to have the scouts only see them playing at full speed.  As a freshman, hone your skills, then when you become a varsity player, go into the draft.  Until then, spend the time practicing – if you get the parallels.

In the End

In reality, networking is best done when you make a name for yourself in an industry.  The issue is that 100′s of individuals are trying to network with the same people, but their approach often comes across as “I want a job from you,” rather than, “This is what I can do for you” and it’s the latter what makes networking effective.

Great internships and great grades will yield better results than endless LinkedIn LNKD +0.76% messages.

Thanks Again!

Again, thank you again to the students at Baruch Zicklin School of Business, Chanah Schnoll and Dr. Tawil.


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