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Networking with Jason Alba — Part I

by Scot Herrick on January 22nd, 2007

Jason AlbaJason Alba has spent a LOT of time thinking about looking for a job, trying to find the right one, and how to go about doing it. He got a lot of time to think about it after his board unceremoniously tossed him out of his job just over a year ago.

Instead of just thinking about how to go about finding a job, however, Jason went out and did something a bit different: analyzing what he was doing looking for a job, he found that no tool out there was doing what he wanted to really do: manage his own network in a way that would support his relationships (note: not work relationships, but relationships) throughout his career.

In a mission that came to him, Jason built JibberJobber.com, an Internet tool that will give you a complete career toolset, not just something to help you find a job once. The tool is cool — out there since May, 2006, with lots of good references and great upgrades already implemented in response to requests.

Rather than present my own ideas around networking and career management, I thought it would be cool for Pimp Your Work readers to get good information right from Jason, who lives and breathes managing a career every single day.

Jason graciously agreed and I gave him five good questions that I’ll present here this week. After his answer, I’ll give a pimpalicious view of my own that hopefully will add to the discussion. Comments welcome, too. This is an important subject to help Pimp Your Work!

Question one:

In Jason Alba’s Best Networking Tip, you state that we should “Have a paradigm shift on what networking really is.” What are the 3-5 incorrect perceptions about networking that you’ve seen?

1. Too many people start off with “I don’t know anyone.” A friend or coach will have you sit down and help you brainstorm who you do know – friends, family, coworkers (past or present), etc.

2. Too many people think that networking is only for extroverts. “I’m an introvert so I find it hard to network.” This proves that they don’t know that networking is just developing a relationship with someone. Sure, the extroverts seem to make it look easy but it doesn’t mean they are actually developing real relationships – so their networking efforts might feel good but in reality be a façade.

3. Too many people network to get something soon. Everyone has heard that networking is about giving. But if you don’t have an active network (of 5 people or 500 people), and need something now, networking is going to be a stressful, painful process. You don’t want to come across as needy, selfish, etc. Developing the relationship takes time, so begin networking NOW, when you don’t need to, give now (i.e., build up credibility), and when you need it, it will be much easier to come by.

My takeaways:

  • Networking is about developing a relationship with someone, not using someone to get a job.
  • Networking is about helping other people.
  • Networking can start off as a painful process and will take time.

A Pimpalicious addition:

The people you work with walk out the door everyday to work for other companies or start businesses of their own — and your relationship walks out with them. Maintain relationships with people who leave your company. You’ll be glad you did.

Check out JibberJobber.com and Jason’s JibberJobber blog and we’ll get the next question tomorrow; same time, same place.

POSTED IN: Cool tools, Strategy, Staying Sane, Workplace Wellness, Survival Skills, Worklife Balance, Cube life

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