Have you heard of a networking chain reaction? Everyone talks about this nebulous thing called networking. Some of us network without even thinking about it. For others, networking is a bizarre concept and one they just can’t figure out. They can’t visualize and they make it way too hard.
I coach clients to understand why an effective job search includes networking
I ask them how they view their network. Some will tell me they don’t have one. Others tell me they don’t know what a network is and they are pretty sure they don’t have one.
To help those who think you don’t have a network visualize how one works, let’s examine a multi-layered example. This has little to do
with job search, but it will illustrate networking and perhaps spark some possibilities for you.
A Networking Story
Background: Regular readers and people who know me from Facebook or Twitter know that we now have Buddy, a German Shepherd puppy living with us. Buddy is 7 months and 3 weeks old. He will be 8 months on December 16. He became part of our family on August 20 when he was 4 months old. He is our second German Shepherd. Our first, Teddy, died on January 28 suddenly of liver cancer. Teddy was not quite 7 years old when he died.
Teddy had ear problems from puppy onward
We took him frequently to the vet. Since he was our first dog and everything was new to us and the infection was fairly bad, he seemed to never be able to kick it. At the time, my office was downstairs and Teddy was upstairs.
Since I see clients in person, a client who wore multiple hats but was also a dog trainer at one point. We talked about Teddy’s ear problems and she met him, examined him, and offered her recommendations. She told me to switch vets and go to Rockwood Pet Hospital in Merrill, WI (a drive about 20 minutes away). When I called for an appointment, she told what to say. “He has an ear infection. He is head-sensitive. A dog trainer says he needs to be given anesthesia and then have his ears flushed.”
Rockwood Vet Hospital and their staff then became our regular vet. It took multiple ear flushing (all under anesthesia) before we cured Teddy’s infection. But their expertise was apparent and it was also apparent how much they cared for both the pets and the pet owners. It felt like being part of a family.
Fast forward to Buddy
We took Buddy to Rockwood when he was with us for 5 days so we would have their guidance from the beginning. They gave him the new puppy examine and answered my list of questions plus gave us a kit with all kinds of puppy information in it. They also recommended a trainer, Cindy Steinke, K-9 Elementary.
Networking with the vet led to a trainer
Though we never used a trainer with Teddy. But for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that my office is now upstairs and Buddy meets all my clients, we felt it was a good idea to at least inquire about a trainer.
Buddy is a busy puppy and at the time I called Cindy the first time, he was stealing (and chewing) socks and shoes and other items. Cindy had a great package of four sessions and I knew in the first session that we were going to make progress.
Suffice it to say, I had let Buddy become the leader instead of me. Not a good idea with a German Shepherd. However, I learned strategies and commands that really helped with everyday problems.
Networking with a trainer led to a fence provider
We discussed with Cindy the issue about tie-outs and whether she thought an electric fence would be better. Teddy was on a tie-out and then later was trained to the yard. But the leash law changed and I really didn’t trust Buddy. Teddy also had to be watched closely until he was three because he did run if unwatched.
Networking to make the right decision
Buddy had already broken a tie-out. We contemplated and researched. I called Dawn Bugni, fellow resume writer from North Carolina and more importantly ardent pet lover and former owner of a pet sitting business. Dawn has her four acres enclosed for her five dogs and myriad of other pets with an electric fence.
After talking with Dawn, I asked Cindy for her recommendation at our next appointment. She recommended Brad at Pet Stop. I called Brad and asked him to stop by and explain his products. Long story short, we now have a Pet Stop Fence and Buddy can enjoy the backyard without me having to worry about him running away.
Let’s summarize this networking story:
- Client and dog trainer recommended Rockwood Pet Hospital
- Rockwood Pet Hospital recommended Cindy Steinke from K-9 Elementary
- Cindy Steinke recommended Brad from Pet Stop.
- I consulted with Dawn Bugni to make sure I was making a right decision on the fence.
What is networking?
Of all of the above people, the only direct personal connection I had was with Dawn. Dawn and I are friends who talk frequently.
I knew my client because it was her second or third visit to Design Resumes but I had never heard of Rockwood, K-9 Elementary, or Pet Stop. I never saw traditional advertising on any of them. Yet the trust I had with one led to the connection with the next one.
Networking is simply connecting with people and resources which connects you to more people and resources.
Most people make networking too hard. Yet if you work at networking, you will never fail a problem too big for you.
You can’t have all the answers but as you let one connection lead you to the next, you will find yourself surrounded with reliable, dependable resources and people to solve anything you have to deal with in your career, life, or business.
I strive to teach new concepts on networking as critical to job search. To learn more, click here.
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