Friday, January 8, 2010

Schmooze ’em or Lose ’em: The Importance of Networking

I’m always surprised that people are eager to ask each other where they got a good deal on dining, or a haircut, or even the name of a building contractor, but these same people are somewhat reluctant to talk to each other about job networking. This is called the art of “career schmoozing.” The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “schmooze” as: “to converse casually in order to gain an advantage.” I can think of no better way to find out about employment opportunities and gain an advantage than by schmoozing your personal and professional network.

Too many people rely on their networking circle only when they are in troubled circumstances, such as having been laid off, facing downsizing or fearing for the stability of their employer. You always need to maintain your network—consistently and carefully. Your networking circle is huge. It encompasses people at all levels of lead generation: family, friends, colleagues, customers, schoolmates and many more. It’s a little bit like the trivia game that has come to be known as “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” which is based on the small-world phenomena that any actor can be linked through their film roles to the actor Kevin Bacon. This means that given the time and resources, you too can probably link yourself within six people to a desired company or job opportunity.

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