This is a guest post by Nader Mowlaee
It might sound contrary to the idea of career professionalism but building real friendships can and will get you hired. In fact, if you’re not making friends when you network, you’re not doing it properly.
Networking is the most powerful job search strategy because it will lead to getting referred in for jobs that aren’t yet advertised, meaning you’ll have much less or no competition going into the interview process.
Building real friendships works extremely well when they’re based on genuine attraction and interest; think about this not as ‘what someone can do for you,’ but rather, ‘what you can do for someone else’ without expecting anything back. That’s how you make a new friend. Help without expecting anything back. Genuine friendships always make sense and feel good when they originate, and they will always pay off in the long run.
Build Real Friendships That Are Genuine
If you want to achieve real friendships, all you have to do is be genuine, meaning your primary purpose for networking is NOT to gain a benefit, but rather to give one. Offer help without the expectation of anything in return. This could very simply be in the form of sharing your knowledge with a new colleague, spending extra time to “train the new guy or girl,” or promoting someone’s articles on social media regularly, volunteering with someone on a pro bono project for charity, or even just carpooling to an industry event together to save on transportation costs. Get into the habit of always lending a helping hand.
“You Only Get What You Give”
This is more than just a line in the one hit wonder New Radical’s song, it’s really true. Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and personal development leader said: “You can have everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want.” This is very true.
Nowadays, you need to invest a lot of your time and energy before ever expecting to receive any goodwill in a business or career-oriented friendship. And giving something without expectation proves that you’re really invested in the relationship for the long run, not for the short-term benefits.
Consider what you put in as a down payment, similar to buying a house or a car. When you do this you will get both multiple times the benefits out of the friendship than you would out of the short-term exchange of and idea and/or conversations.
Authenticity Breeds Reciprocation
When you authentically help your new network connections, you build rapport. You also give your network connections the necessary time they need to get to know you, like you, and eventually trust you. No one will ever do anything for you if they don’t know and like you.
This type of behavior leads to reciprocation. When you need to get your resume to a hiring manager at their company, ahead of the job being advertised online, an authentic connection (a real friend) will offer to help you push it along. If you want to know “insider knowledge” to get the position you really want, a real friend will fill you in.
When you have authentic friendships, you create a network of professional support that can truly help you in your job search, no matter if you’re at entry or senior level. Begin by becoming genuinely interested in others whom you admire. Then focus on offering genuine assistance in any way you can afford, and you will find what you put out there naturally comes back to you. It’s one of the rules of nature.
If the Employee Referral Programs are the most successful hiring programs (yes they are), then networking and building real friendships is the strategy you must learn and successfully implement. No ifs ands or buts about it, no excuses.
If right now you’re asking yourself: “What if I don’t have much experience to offer, what should I do” or “How can I help a stranger when I don’t know them?” send me a message on LinkedIn and I will help you as best as I can. Perhaps I can help you better understand or notice your hidden strengths and then show you how you can utilize your top skills to capture the attention of employers, hiring managers and recruiters, by approaching them in a non-intrusive way.
About Nader Mowlaee:
Nader is a career coach who believes you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. His mission is to enable engineers to break away from their fears and create the ideal lives and careers they desire. You can learn more about Nader through his LinkedIn account.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on about building real friendships.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success