They say it’s not what you know, but who you know.
They’re right. But take it a step further; it’s not WHO you know, but HOW you know someone.
It’s easy to meet someone at a conference, send them a LinkedIN connection and, voila, that person is permanently in your network. But I recently went through my LinkedIN “network” and realized I don’t even know who some of those people really are. What kind of network is that??? The same holds true for Facebook: How many of your “friends” do you consider your friends in real life?
Social networks like LinkedIN and Facebook are simple and often fake. Real networks take time to cultivate and develop. Shoot an email to someone when their team or school is in the news. Pick up the phone to ask for advice. Send a note if a somebody loses a loved one. A real network is about people looking out for one another.
So when that dream job finally opens up at that company you’ve always wanted to work for, a good networker will pick up the phone and feel comfortable calling to ask for that recommendation. A great networker, meanwhile, doesn’t need to call because that person on the other end already knows who you are and what you’re capable of.
Associate Director, Athletics Annual Giving
Loyola University Maryland