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Career Corner
The Three Laws of Networking

Jason Connell -- Apply these three simple networking tips to your professional and personal life and make everyone's life, including your own, better.

Simply put, the best way to get a great job in this economy is through networking. Nearly 100% of my speaking engagements in 2009 were landed through networking; I didn’t use an agent, I never ran an advertising campaign, and until last July, I had never made a cold call in my life.

Unfortunately, networking is rarely taught in school. I want to share my approach here because I think it will help many of my job-hunting readers. There are three networking laws that I live by. They are:

1. Go out of your way to help people, especially if you have skills or knowledge that they do not.

2. When you need help, ask for it.

3. Believe in karma.

The combination of all three is what makes this approach so effective. Many people “keep score” when they network. In other words they figure, “Well, I just helped Jess land a job by putting her in touch with a family friend, so now Jess owes me one.” This makes networking a cold and self-interested process. That’s why it has such a bad name -– too many people are in it just for themselves.

Instead of keeping score, just offer as much help and value to others as you can -– you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.

I want to share a concrete example from my life. One of my close friends, David, has been influential in my success. Several years ago he went out of his way to help me land a prestigious speaking engagement. Then, earlier this week, I got a call from David saying, “Hey there is a college that needs leadership trainings and you are the perfect person for them.” He then gave me the phone number and told me the person in charge is looking forward to my call.

David went out of his way to help me. Think about how I feel in this situation. I feel great. I feel humbled. I feel excited. The only problem is that I can’t think of anything cool enough to repay David with for his generosity. However, the moment an opportunity arrives for me to help David, I will leap at it. I’ll move mountains if that’s what it will take to help him succeed. And honestly, I can’t wait for that opportunity.

Though David is a close friend, I’m sure that I’m not the only one he has gone out of his way to help. David, by proactively helping people and not bothering to say, “So, are you going to take me out for dinner since I put you in touch with so and so?” now has a stable of people chomping at the bit to help him. And that is what networking done right looks like. Everyone’s life is better for it.

Do yourself a favor: put the three laws into practice over the span of a year, and watch the magic unfold. And of course, if I can help you with anything, please do reach out. My personal email address is:

Jason Connell is a career consultant as well as a public speaker. His presentations (through his company Changing the World 101) focus on how university students can get involved with volunteer projects in the developing world. For more, visit.

© 2011 Jason Connell

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