Today much focus is on networking through membership sites. Sometimes the most helpful people in your network are your friends or people you have met locally.
A friend of mine was working part-time in a hardware store while in college. One of the regular customers was a wealthy commercial property developer, who owned malls and high-rise office buildings. This developer liked what he saw in my friend and offered to put him into business as the owner of a hardware store in one of the developers new strip centers.
My friend accepted the offer and now owns two hardware stores that are in strip malls, which the developer owns.
A couple of decades later, the developer hired the son of the hardware store owner. The developer’s son and my friend’s son had become friends and the business relationship has continued to grow.
When you are creating a list of your network, remember to include the people you know locally.
Here are some suggestions just to get your mind working.
- Elementary, middle, and high school friends
- College friends
- Friends of your parents
- Parents of the friends of your child or your children
- Friends or acquaintances from clubs, church, or associations
- People who provide you with services
- Volunteer activities
- Places where you shop
As you fill out the list, begin to organize the contact information on these people into a database or contact management system.
You may already be using a contact manager. For a career move, you might continue to use the same system you have used. If you have no current personal system or if wish to create a separate system for your career, the free email services (Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail) provide data storage, calendars, and ways to include contact information on your contacts and methods for grouping your contacts based on the ways you would like to sort these.
Take a notepad with you when you get out of the house. Ideas may come to you as you see people at the athletic center or while doing volunteer work or even shopping.
When you speak with other people, try to remember to engage in discussions about them, their family, and their friends. Allow your mind to make free associations as you build your list of contacts.
Remember to give people your contact information as well. Let people know that you are available and to pass your contact information along to people who might want to help you make more connections.
Move beyond LinkedIn. Build a network of your contacts.
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