The Golden Rule Of Networking
The term “networking” is overused in many different contexts. In executive job searches, I prefer to refer to it as “Golden Rule networking” to emphasize what should be the hallmark of this process: mutuality.
Source: Cheryl Lynch Simpson
At its simplest, Golden Rule networking is about giving before you attempt to get something from your connections. By making yourself a proactive contributor to your network, you lay the groundwork for return future contributions from your connections. In a sense, this approach to networking is like a savings account that enables you to withdraw goodwill in the form of ideas, suggestions and insights from key contacts when you need them most.
This process works exceptionally well in executive job searches when you have an ongoing need for information and referrals. In this context, Golden Rule networking can elevate your search by:
• Making your candidacy more visible to more people. By sharing information and resources with your network before you make requests, you remind people about your presence, your brand and your strengths. In some cases, they may elect to share something you forwarded with others, which may generate even more visibility for you.
• Giving you access to more information and new connections. Gifting your network connections with resources makes them want to help you more and can give them a better idea of how to help you. This in turn positions you to be referred to additional connections, which is, after all, the ultimate purpose of networking.
• Keeping your candidacy front of mind without making a nuisance of yourself. One of the problems job seekers run into when they network is that they end up going back to the same connections over and over again. Focusing first on sharing resources and information with your network gives you a way to stay in touch without repeatedly making requests on your contact’s time. It reminds them of your search without you having to remind them of your search or repeat any previous networking requests.