Because networking is so nebulous and difficult to see how it directly translates into a job, I hear a lot of reluctance. Maybe if you track our networking contacts and activities, you’ll see the correlation more clearly.
First, let’s acknowledge that sales and job search have many similarities.
In fact, the marketing funnel is 100% applicable to your job search.
And all great sales professionals have developed a system for tracking leads.
So doesn’t it make sense for you to track your networking contacts and activities?
There are different ways of tracking your networking contacts and activities. And just to be clear, I am suggesting you track are networking leads, NOT JOB POSTINGS!
Here’s A System for Tracking Networking Contacts
First, take your spreadsheet or list of people you know and categorize each person and give each one a numeric value.
Friends/family (5 points)
Coworkers/peer (3 points)
Referrals (1 point)
(This scoring system was mentioned long ago by Dan Schawbel)
Next, reach out to your high point contacts (friends/family) first. They should be a priority because they know you best and are more willing to help you.
Proceed down the list of contacts based on their numeric value.
Why Strong Relationships Work Best
You’ve given top points to those people who know you. And it is the strength of those relationships that will open doors.
Data from an UpMo study of elite networkers shows the value of your network is based on these things:
- Willingness of contacts to recommend you – 23%
- Level of the relationship – 43%
- Frequency of communication – 7%
- Number of overall contacts/connections – 10%
- Position of those in network – 6%
- Specific opportunities in network – 7%
This is why this numeric system works. You want to nurture your relationships with people who know you best (and who are more willing to recommend you).
So why am I not recommending that you target networking with more senior/high-level people? Well, I am. It can be more difficult to connect with these people, but they certainly have clout. You may not have many or any of them in your current network, however, they do have an influence on hiring decisions.
Learn more about the people you should be networking with here.
While networking is a number game, as is sales, it is also the quality of the relationships in your network that matter.
You have to plant and nurture a lot of seeds to get something to grow. Make sure the ground is fertile and plant away!
Track Your Networking Activities
If you don’t have a database, spreadsheet of system of some type to track your networking activity, you will want to put one in place.
Here are some recommendations for Managing Your Personal CRM and Network
And here Tracking Your Job Search Activities
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.