We now live in a world where connections get one literally anywhere – from connecting flights to the internet connection you are using to read this. It is important not only to know how to connect but to position oneself and form mutually beneficial connections, especially on the job market.
To some extent, the way we see networking today is very superficial and monolithic. We have the abstract value of networks from school and or social circles:
- It is about in-person connection
- Building as large a network as possible (eg LinkedIn)
- Good reputation
- Meeting people who add social value
All these are important; however, they cover a fraction of what it means to build a network and form connections.
Here are a few “How’s” as far as networking goes:
- Depth over number
If you have 79k connections, you probably know roughly 1 percent of the people on that platform. Beyond having an audience that looks at and interacts with your content, you get and give no value to an audience that large. Work on having deep connections that you form a bond with, learn from, and teach.
- Intrinsic Value over Extrinsic Value
Play the long game. Resist the urge to form connections solely for likes, social validation or for the prospect of influential introductions. Find connections that level you up internally, they push you to think deeper and in different ways. Focusing on connections that help you think better will have the extrinsic benefits come in as a byproduct.
- Relatability over Proximity
Connect with people who have similar values and interests to you. This is opposed to being close to your neighbor just for the sake of being close to them.
- Value over Identity
In a world where pseudonymous interactions are more common than anything, you are better off taking the leap and reaching out to learn more than restricting your circle to people you know
- Psychological safety over Prestige
This is when people, considered experts in their topics and fields (who in theory would be amazing connections) upon an interaction, get impatient as you ask elementary questions of them because of their expertise. Instead, connect with people that provide you the psychological safety to learn and struggle with an idea without feeling judgement for being a novice.
- Diversity over Density
If you are in tech or marketing, for example, limit your connections with people in similar fields. Work toward diverse thinking and networking. This is key because in a diverse world, to put out great product and ideas that respect the diversity of your audience, you need diversity in thinking. Get out of your comfort zone; most of your best ideas are out of the box.
- Impact over Lifespan
Learn to cut your losses. Do not hold on to connections because of longevity or the feeling of obligation to it. When a connection provides no value to anyone in the relationship, it is a disservice to both parties. People change. Look for value and input.
In conclusion, a good CV is great, but you need to know where to send it and that begins with the networks you foster.