Your Network Is Not Your 500+ Connections on LinkedIn You Never Talk To |

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EP 1752 People do goofy things. They spend a lot of time connecting with people and then nothing to cultivate the relationship. If that is you, here is your real network.

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I want to start by saying I was an early LinkedIn member-- member 7653. That's how early I got into it. At the beginning, there was not a lot there, but I started to learn how to do networking by networking “the LinkedIn way.” Years later, with very few connections from recruiters or people overseas, I have over 23,000 first level connections and most of these people, almost all of them, reached out to me.

When I see people who network on LinkedIn, they think that's about sending a connection request, becoming connected with some person and that’s it. That is not networking. That is useless because when you need these people, you have no relationship with them. There's no contact period there is no basis for someone wanting to help you.

The reality is your network, unless you've cultivated them on LinkedIn, are people off the platform period they are your friends, your relatives, the parents of your kids’ friends, parents and relatives of your friends period they can be people from trade associations, neighbors, relatives of some sort, current and previous coworkers and managers, executives recruiters, vendors, suppliers, people from trade associations you belong to, your community contacts, your clergy, your doctor, your lawyer or accountant. These are your people who are in your network. It requires that you spend time cultivating them over the course of your lifetime.

When you're 22, you don't think this way. But the senior people that I coach, what I see time and again is that they are able to reach out to people that they’ve worked with in the past who were very willing to help them. You, on the other hand, do nothing to maintain the relationship.

The thing senior people know more than anything is your network really is your net worth, because when you need them, they'll be there for you. Why is that? Number one is they have built credibility with them from working together. Number two is they’ve helped one another, and are willing to help one another. There’s an implied agreement once you reach certain levels that help can be available when called upon. It’s like chips that are put it. People help one another at senior levels.

They’re kinder to recruiters is the funny thing about it, but they teach the junior people to be rude.

“Don’t talk to recruiters. These people are useless!” and a lot of them are, quite obviously. There are good ones and you don't know how to recognize the good ones from the not so good ones. I’m going to tell you, folks, be gracious with all of them, even though even the ones that you in your xenophobia dismissed because they are foreign-born. I’m going to tell you point-blank you don't know how to recognize a good recruiter.

Recruiters work for their clients and, thus, are there to deliver people to their client and then be paid for them. Be gracious to everyone that comes into contact and just simply say, “Hey, look, this isn’t a role that makes sense for me. I appreciate you reaching out. Have a great day!” Do it in a nice way. You don’t hang up the phone on them and say, “have a great day.” Click.

“I appreciate you reaching out to me. It’s not for me. Thank you for calling and I hope you have a great day. Okay?” and, then, and the conversation in a polite way.

Everyone you come into contact with is a potential network individual for you. One of my first coaching clients was referred to me by someone who'd seen something I had written and referred them to me because they thought I could help. You have no idea where your network is derived from. It can be from your writing, a podcast interview that you do, from your relationships with friends or family which I know, for many of you, is and uncomfortable thing for you to do (two ask your mom or dad if they know someone who they can introduce you to . . . like they wouldn’t try to help you).

Just do it. Seriously. Just do it because it can be the difference between that great opportunity or an average one, a mediocre one or being out of work for long period of time. Use your network wisely.

For, you, senior people, I know you know all this stuff, but I want to remind you that you can sometimes, in your busyness, forget to really work every one of your connections.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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