Networking in a digital ageHowever high-tech your tools, remember: your network is people
Remember Bob from Accounts Payable at your first job out of school? Nice guy, but you didn’t have much in common, and got tired of updating his phone number in your little black book. So you lost touch. Well, recently you remembered Bob, and looked him up on Facebook or LinkedIn. Turns out he’d worked his way up in the IRS and had become dean of a prominent business school. So you dropped him a line, and reconnected.
Stephen Calk, Senior Associate Director
of Johnson’s Career Management Center
As a first step to online networking, Stephen Calk, senior associate director of Johnson’s Career Management Center, suggests a LinkedIn account. You can build your network fairly easily (most of your contacts are probably already in the database), and see your connections’ contact and company information and résumé. Keeping the information current is painless, because Bob updates his own data.
LinkedIn also allows you to see all your contacts’ networks. So, if you have 100 connections, and each of them has 100 connections, you now can see the name and company information of 10,000 people. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have 10,000 friends willing to find you a job. But it does open up a whole new world of possibilities.
While the tools we use for networking may change, says Calk, the principles remain the same. “All networking, all relationship building, is and will always be analog,” says Calk. “Technology simply gives us a more efficient mechanism for keeping the analog world warm.”
Remember: Each of those names represents an individual who wants to be respected, taken seriously, and befriended (not just in the Facebook way). A network is a collection of people, and is only as good as the effort you put into cultivating those people. It’s no coincidence that today’s networking books repeat the same tenets expounded by Dale Carnegie 80 years ago: Listen to others, make them feel important, think from their perspective, and give more than you take.