I’ve been walking several times a week with a friend. We hike through the hills in our neighborhood and at the end of the hour, I’ve easily gotten 90+ flights of stairs and 10,000 steps logged on my Fitbit. We chat the entire hour. We discuss politics, the economy, technology, work, family, new recipes we’ve tried and our weekend plans. We’re both self-employed so we often talk business strategy and whatever we’ve come across that’s interesting or resources we want to share with each other. I have her to thank for turning me onto Brain fm – which I now use daily to help me focus and not get distracted, like when writing clients’ marking materials or responding to emails.
When The Door Swings Open
Lately, her phone has been ringing a lot more during our walks. (She always ignores it, by the way.) But when she would get back to her office, I’d get an email update: “I just heard from the guy from Arizona that Bob referred me to.” Or, “You’ll never guess who that was. (Major expert in her field) is looking for someone to manage a project and they got my name from Sam.” It’s as if, almost overnight, she had tapped into a new network of contacts. Contacts with interesting, well-paid projects in my friend’s sweet spot of expertise. We’ve been joking that she’s finally got her foot through the magical door.
Slow and Steady Networking
Of course, this seemingly overnight success was anything but overnight. She’s been working hard for a while; taking classes, attending conferences, being a resource to others and working on some un-glamorous, tedious projects to build her resume (and connections). You should also know one other thing: She’s an introvert. Did I just dispel a story you had made up about how this only happens for extroverts? I hope so. Introverts can be effective networkers. Here’s what author Susan Cain, an advocate for introverts, has to say about networking.
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
I’m sharing this with you because I’m naming 2017 the year of “It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know”. I’m seeing it across the board – from hiring managers reaching out to ask contacts (like me) for candidate referrals, to an increase in companies reinstating a “referral bonus” for employees who refer candidates who get hired. It’s like Throwback Thursday is now Throwback 2017. (Here are some trends I saw in 2016.) It’s not like networking and connections ever went totally out of style, but I’m seeing a shift. How about you?
Everything Old is New Again
Take heart that even in the fast-paced world we live in, it’s true what Mom told us: Everything old is new again. Job market trends included. Will acid-wash jeans come back into fashion too? Hope not.