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Networking Equals Relationships

What is networking anyway? So many job seekers are befuddled by the term. Plain and simple: networking is about relationships! Can we all agree to stop over-thinking it. Based on your relationships with people you gather information, acquire recommendations, find out interesting things, uncover solutions, and the list goes on!

networking relationships

Your Existing Network (aka Friends, Family, neighbors, colleagues, etc)

Let’s keep it simple.  You already have a list of people you know. These are your friends, family, neighbors or the people you know well.  This is your current network.  These people care about you and your well-being.  Have you ever asked any of them for the name of a good electrician, or what kind of car they drive or a their favorite restaurant? Why? Because the thought of pulling a name out of directory is risky.  You want something reliable at a fair price and you trust the recommendation of someone you know. Right?

What you were doing was looking for information! You were looking for their help!

Your Extended Professional Network

This network is comprised of people you may have only interacted with professionally. They could be vendors, suppliers, customers or even competitors.  They could be people you have served on committees with. You do have a relationship with these people.  If you called any of them on the phone they would recognize your name!  Have you ever asked any one in this set of connections for advice, recommendations, information?  If so, you’ve networked!

Who Else Do You Need In Your Network?

Do you need to grow your network? Do you need to meet more people? ALWAYS! So who are the people you want to meet? Create a list of people you would like to meet. They could be movers and shakers in your industry.  It could be a person who’s name comes up frequently in conversation. It could be almost anyone.  As you write down their name, also write down WHY you want to meet them!

Networking is so mis-understood!

I keep writing about networking because it is so misunderstood by those new to job search.  If you consider yourself to be the owner of your own business (Me, Inc!) then maybe you would understand the power and importance of building a more targeted network.

Here are some posts that provide additional information and examples of what networking is.

Networking Needs a New Name

Think Before You Speak

Informational Interviews

Will you please include your definition of networking in the comment below!

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  • Marc Miller May 3, 2012, 2:51 pm

    You are correct. Many people equate networking with Waterboarding. It is painful!! I have renamed it “Building Relationships”.

    Standing in the check out line at the grocery store is a networking opportunity. One of my best networking contacts is my chiropractor. She has been in my life for almost 20 years. I joke she is the “other woman” in my life.

    Please read my series on networking strategically at http://careerpivot.com/2011/9-articles-on-strategies-and-tactics-for-building-relationships-for-your-career-or-job-search/

  • Sunitha Narayanan May 4, 2012, 6:22 pm


    I agree–it is time to stop overthinking it. The minute you take the focus of you and concentrate on building a dialogue, you can feel a huge gust of positivity surround you.

    My definition–a mutual give and take of ideas, encouragement and support.

    Make it a great day! I am waiting eagerly for your Blue Sky book.

    • Hannah Morgan May 5, 2012, 5:47 am


      I love your definition of networking! Mutual give and take means that both people benefit. Thanks!

      PS: Blue Sky Day should ship early next week (Hopefully Monday!)

  • Madison May 5, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Great blog! Sometimes when you think about “networking” you get nervous and feel as if it is almost impossible or intimidating to get to know people who are potentially competing with you. But when you really think about it, famous or not, everyone started somewhere. It’s all about WHO you know, not WHAT you know…right?
    Madison Troin
    Southeast Missouri State

    • Hannah Morgan May 6, 2012, 5:39 am

      So true, we all started somewhere! And thank you for your comment!