Networking To Increase Your Income Potential

Networking To Increase Your Income Potential

Let me put it out there, I hate networking in the classic definition. I’m an introvert by nature, so I can’t stand going to professional functions to meet strangers only to exchange business cards in the hopes that this new connection will lead to new opportunities in the future.

I don’t like small talk and I usually don’t initiate conversation. That type of setting is very uncomfortable to me. However, every opportunity in my professional career has been given to me because of my network.

One person in my network informed me that a job opportunity was opening up in their company. Another person in my network told me I would be a good fit in management and referred me to the position. Another person in my network directly hired me to work for him. But, how did I build a network if I can’t stand meeting new people at professional functions?

How to Develop A Network?

Networking can be thought of in several ways. One way is to join professional networks / associations, go to functions, and meet new people to expand your network. The other way, and its the way I prefer, it to target your network. Outside of people you already know, choose people who you know, admire, and respect.

Then make several attempts to reach out to them. Personally, these types of 1 on 1 conversations come easy to me because its more than small talk. When you talk to someone you respect or admire, the questions you have for them will flow. Think about Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett. People may thousands of dollars to have lunch with Warren Buffett because they respect him and have a million questions they want to ask.

After developing several personal relationships, there may be a point where you can ask the person to be your mentor. I have more than one mentor. I have functional mentors (in different line functions) in my company. I also have mentors outside of my company. I also have mentors in the church. You never know how these relationships may lead to opportunities in the future.

The next important task is to maintain those relationships. Often times, I may go months without speaking to my network, but I try to meet up every now and then for coffee or lunch. If that doesn’t work, I may drop them a line on e-mail or drop a quick note on their Facebook wall or LinkedIn profile.

When you’re first starting your career, it is difficult to leverage a network. When I first started, I had to beg for jobs. I had to prove myself during interviews. As time passes, you build your network. My last 4 job changes have been a result of my network. The interviews were a breeze since most of the people knew me. The value of your network is significant and often underestimated. You can significantly increase your income potential by leveraging your network…so make it big!

About The Author

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at I Am 1 Percent. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.


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5 Comments

  1. Noah

    I too am introverted, dislike networking, and avoid any situations where small talk is required. However, that being said, my last 2 jobs were acquired because I knew someone. My first job was a result of a friend of a friend. He mentioned they were looking to hire and I must have bugged him 4 or 5 times to talk to his boss and get me an interview. After 5 years at that company, I was laid off due to the economy and within a week I was hired at another company. My former boss knew that another company was hiring and put in a good word for me. I interviewed and was hired. I also have a good side job programming for a client of my former boss.

    All of these things would not have been possible had I not I not had a connection through my friend 10 years ago. I hate to admit it, but networking simply works 🙂

    Reply
  2. [email protected]&More

    Networking is huge. I need to work on my network but I also have helped at least 2 people in my network get jobs. It is a great feeling.

    Reply
  3. krantcents

    Most people start their network with their friends, colleagues and business associates. In other words people you know and they know you. Then you expand your group with each job and industry associations. Your network may or may not give you a job, but it will help you get one. I think it is the objective, isn’t it?

    Reply
  4. Bridget

    Solid advice. I collect “mentors” as I go through my jobs to build my career. These are people who I feel are successful and good examples of what I would like to be as a professional (and a person). I study them like I would any subject at school! Ask questions, seek advice, learn how they got where they are and what they want to do next. I’ve really learned the most from just watching successful people.

    Then I keep in touch with my mentors and other people in my network regularly. Not often, maybe once every few months. I’m interested in what they’re doing and I like to share any new accomplishments at my job. Even though I’m not actively looking for a new position right now, I like knowing I’m ready in case one comes up.

    Reply
  5. Mike

    Great point about maintaining the relationship. It is one thing to meet an influential person, and another to stay top of mind with them. If you don’t say a thing to that person for months they will be hard pressed to think of a good reason to help you out the next time you approach them.

    Reply

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