Networking is still the leader when it comes to job search. Recommendations remain the most credible option. They often help to get a job when the company does not have a completely relevant vacancy or the candidate's experience is not fully relevant to the position.
"Grow your professional network” is something you can hear from almost everywhere. But the information describing it is often given incorrectly and incompletely, forming a false impression. As a result, people either concentrate on building the network of the "dead" contacts or even wipe networking out from their activities.
Let's figure out why networking is a mutual exchange when it comes to job search, and not a contacts’ graveyard on LinkedIn, and learn what are the four pillars the desire to recommend is based on.
How to become a recommended person?
Let's look at this from the reverse perspective. Who is the person YOU would recommend?
Most likely, this person has these characteristics:
- you benefited from that person
- you have information about his/her professionalism
- it is a pleasant person
- you will gain some perks from the recommendation
The last point means a positive experience of the person to whom you recommend that person we are talking about, your feeling of satisfaction or a bonus for "bring a friend" from the company. It's funny, but this point is not the main one and should not be interpreted one-sidedly. Most often people recommend someone not to get some financial benefits but from the bottom of their hearts and recommend those people who are worth it.
Now let's look at the list again and analyze each characteristic individually.
This is key in networking and in professional activity in general. The first thing to keep in mind when meeting people of interest to you is how you can be of use to that person. Talk about what you can do and what is important to you. Listen carefully to how the interlocutor lives. Look for the common ground of interests and opportunities.
The benefits may not necessarily be financial. If you dive more into the subject, you can find that there are dozens of ways to be useful: write a review about the coach after training, share your opinion, share a contact, share a book, show the city, share knowledge.
I want to emphasize that being helpful doesn’t mean giving yourself everything completely in some inadequate way to satisfy the needs of your contacts all the time. Yes, any action requires effort, but adequate, and not through force and sacrifice. Networking is about a healthy and balanced exchange between people.
To recommend you as a specialist, a person must at least know that you are one. Perhaps he/she worked with you and knows that you are one. Perhaps you spoke with her/him on professional topics. Perhaps he/she follows you on social networks or knows the results of your work.
It is totally up to you how people will learn about your professionalism. Some people write articles or posts related to their work. Others perform as speakers at some themed events or host webinars. Still, others share their experience with career beginners.
If, for example, you do not like publicity, this does not mean that networking is closed to you. Build it with colleagues, managers, friends. Share useful information with experts like yourself. Create professional communities or join existing ones where you can prove yourself like a pro. Seek feedback from your clients, and if you work for someone - from internal clients.
About good relationships.
There are situations when a real professional has acted in such a way that no one wants to recommend him/her. For example, he/she used someone else's idea, grossly violated agreements, or behaved unethically towards colleagues, clients, and the community. In general, he spoiled relations with those who can recommend him. In the best case, they will simply not be told about that person, in a particularly difficult case, they will give negative feedback and would never recommend cooperating with such a person.
The world is small, and every dishonest act can affect us in the future. I think there is no need to explain once again that people would recommend someone pleasant and reliable.
Though many companies practice cash bonuses or gifts for proper candidates that were recommended, this is not the main factor.
First of all, I'm talking about intangible benefits, the joy of how the recommendation worked out. The person that recommends you, to some extent, vouches for you with his reputation. That person wants everyone involved to benefit from that recommendation and feels that he/she has connected two people who need each other, and it even raises the value of your recommendation for both parties.
To sum it up, you need to be a helpful, reliable, professional and pleasant person. The person others want to recommend. More of a giver than a taker. Each of these points needs individual improvement, and the sky's the limit.
The connections we form are our social capital. Sometimes they give us much more than we expect. And sometimes even at the most unexpected moment. Just keep in mind one simple rule - you should dedicate yourself to any activity with your heart and soul.
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