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How to Build a Network in 12 Days (before Christmas)

Debra Feldman | Dec. 9, 2010
Seriously consider this. Networking generates more than 80 percent of new hires.

On the seventh day...Conduct due diligence. Find individuals with inside knowledge of target companies, including current and former employees, consultants. Also be sure to read print and online publications, visit professional association websites and check conference exhibitors and presenters. Refine your value proposition for employers based on their needs. Describe by success stories examples of how you will add to profits, reduce costs or improve process. You have to distinguish yourself as a first choice, go-to reliable expert. In addition, join additional groups to make more targeted contacts.

On the eighth day...Initiate inside contacts at each target company. You should already be members of the same organisations or groups. If not, join the groups where the people who need to know you are members. Ask questions and share relevant experiences and ideas. (Of course, you should not begin conversations asking about openings.)

Remember that it takes time to develop trust. You will not get much benefit from mere transactions; you are intentionally focusing on making new relationships. Being connected, you should hear of potential opportunities first before public announcements. You can also volunteer and be the preferred candidate when you identify a need before a new position is official. This is the hidden job market; you have penetrated it. Stay on the insider's radar and be present for the right time to suggest ideas and solutions.

On the ninth day...Maximise social networking to increase quality contacts. Social networks provide enormous opportunity to connect with insiders identified from their profile content. Ask a mutual contact to facilitate an introduction. Join the same group as a target contact; on LinkedIn, for instance, you can send a message to a fellow group member without being linked.

Search to find contacts and send a compelling introduction explaining how they will benefit from meeting you. Check SlideShare to find industry or specialty contacts. Connect on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Join the same LinkedIn groups. Ask for their recommendations-crowd sourcing is one technique to discover new trends, ideas and people to know.

On the tenth day...Spot trends and increase your knowledge online. Go beyond Linked In. Get background info from corporate websites, LinkedIn profiles and Facebook fan pages. Search online (ZoomInfo, Google profiles, Spoke) for more names. Follow individuals and corporate accounts on Twitter, monitor conversations and send direct messages or engage in a public dialogue.

Publish your own blog and reply promptly to comments. Update LinkedIn with personal news. Ask questions within your groups and answer questions to demonstrate knowledge. Move conversations offline to deepen relationships. Identify a handful of bloggers you admire. Regularly read and comment. There's a good chance the author will reply and start a private conversation. Be sure to recommend the blog or offer to write a guest blog.


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