Your Professional Network Sucks and It’s All Your Fault.

You’re sitting down eating lunch at your desk. The thought races across your head that it’s about time to get a new job. You aren’t happy with what you have now. You need something new, refreshing and with better career potential.

You then start thinking about next steps. You hate the idea of updating your resume and applying for jobs online. You need something more efficient & something more natural. Maybe you should start telling a few close people what you’re thinking about and get their opinions. Sounds like a great idea. Now, the question is who do you tell?  Your friends, colleagues that work with you, your favorite barista at Starbucks?

You need someone who will keep it private but also give you great advice on next steps. Someone who will connect you with the right people. You want to start interviewing as soon as possible, and see what’s out there.

Isn’t this what Linkedin was created for!? You immediately go on Linkedin and start browsing your connections for people that can help you.

Then it dawns on you. That person doesn’t exist in your network. You don’t have that person. Everyone in your network is useless. Well, they aren’t exactly useless – but useless to you.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but it’s all your fault.

Here are five reasons it’s all your fault:

  1. Everyone in your network are people from your current or past jobs
  2. You didn’t actively try to meet new people
  3. You helped zero people within your network. No one owes you any favors
  4. Remember the email that’s sitting in your email that you forgot about? Trust me, they didn’t forget
  5. No one knows who you really are besides your previous title’s

How to fix it?

The easy answer: Meet people that could help you in 6 months, not that can help you now. As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been”

  1. Coffee meetings, a lot of them. Can’t get away in the morning? Meet them during lunch.
  2. Meet different people, not just people in your industry.
  3. Respond back to all those emails that are sitting in your inbox. Offer your help.
  4. Reconnect with people you haven’t met in a while.
  5. Be consistent. Do it every single day. It’s exhausting, but it’s worth every second.

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