Networking is likely the route to your next job… It’s more personal than applying on a stark job board, and it may help you find out about opportunities that aren’t openly advertised.

So is networking a good thing? Definitely. But there are ways to do it properly (and effectively) and ways that are just a waste of your time.

Luckily, the experienced Jeff Haden gives us 5 great networking tips. Here are my 3 favorites:

  1. Give before you take. Of course you want something; you want their help. But the trick is: “never ask for what you want.” By giving your expertise and your help, you can establish a real, solid, meaningful relationship. A relationship will make them want to help you, not just an annoying person asking for help.
  2. Don’t assume they care about your needs. You’re out of work and you need a job – that’s your problem, not theirs. Haden says “the only way to make connections is to care about the needs of others first.” Show them you care about them, and then maybe they’ll care about you afterall.
  3. Network where it’s mutually beneficial. Yeah, having the top executive connect with you would be great, but the way to actually make a helpful connection is to find someone who can benefit from your expertise – and vice versa. So that you can follow up on #1 and #2… make a relationship that goes both ways.