It is commonly held that, when networking, you need to "cast out your net" to "ensnare" others to help you find the corporate work you seek. It holds, then, that the more people you know, the larger your pool of ensnarable targets; and, the larger your pool of ensnarable targets, the more likely you are to pull in a successful catch! So, basically, (to wring out a floundering fishing analogy), the larger your network, the better your chances are for getting a good fresh meal of fish on your table. In other words, go out and meet a lot of people!
Here are two more suggestions for expanding your network:
-Learn to chat: According to research done at the FSRI, everyone loves a good chat; even those who say that they shy away from "small talk." So, when you're in the check-out line at the market, clear your throat, smile and then address the person standing next to you with this comment: "Boy, my shoes are three sizes too big!" or "Wow, they have a lot of dairy products here, don't they?" A couple of "chatty" remarks down the line and you bring up the fact that you're looking for corporate work - and BAM! - it turns out you've been talking to the CEO of Quest for the last 20 minutes - and he wants you in for an interview tomorrow! The virtue to chatting is that you never know who you might strike up a conversation with. The expert chatterer always has a better line on a good job!
-Use internet social-networking sites: The popularity of social-networking sites has skyrocketed in the last five years, and by utilizing sites like Technorati, MySpace, Facebook and DogsUnited you have an excellent means by which to generate corporate contacts. Your task is to take a couple of hours out of your day and go to one of these sites, set up a profile describing yourself as an eager, corporate go-getter and then quickly acquire 500 good "friends." After this, send a message to each expressing your interest in obtaining corporate work. Here is a basic message: "What up, (name of friend)!? Man, we've had some good times here on this site and I feel like I know you like a (brother - sister). Did I mention to you that I'm looking for a job at a corporation? Yeah, I know, it sounds crazy, but it's something I really want to do. If you have any good leads, give me a shout. Word-out! (...your avatar's name.)" Copy and send this message to all your social-networking contacts and see who bites. You just may get a name of a company looking to hire in a matter of hours!
Expanding the size of your network is crucial to increasing the effectiveness of your networking strategy. The more family, friends and acquaintances you have, the more people you will know and the better your chances are of getting a job!
More on internet strategies in the next post.