Networking: The Other Half
By Matt M. Starcevich, Ph. D.
We’re all familiar with networking either through social networking sites like Linkedin or through people we know on a local level. Developing and managing your contacts is best when it is part of a daily routine, not when it is used all at once and must carry the burden of a hurry-up job search. This is a one way; self centered approach and has the possibility of leaving your contacts feeling “used.” The other half, which is all too often ignored, is what have or are you doing for your contacts? Does “giving back” sound familiar?
What does giving back mean, it doesn’t mean superficial gestures, it does mean giving real value. You might suggest articles or books you have read that fit their interests. An update on your progress and an interest in what is new with them keeps you both in the loop. Volunteer to help on a particular project where your contact is involved like a blood drive, or a charity function. If you hear of an opportunity that might interest them, pass it along. An occasional call just to visit and check in shows a real interest. The list is endless and only limited by your imagination.
Your contacts will notice genuine acts of giving that have substance—ideas, information, and resources. Networking is a two-way street.