Networking can be that way sometimes, especially when you first get started, but I am going to help you overcome your fear by using myself as an example.
Below are 10 actions I almost didn’t take because I feared rejection or being labeled as weird and awkward. Most of the actions would have people saying, “Who the hell does that?”
One: I spent over 30 hours emailing 55 people
When I wrote “The Ultimate Networking Tips Guide: 87 Killer Resources” I spent days writing emails to the authors whose articles were featured. Each email was personal and explained how the author has helped me achieve success. Writing the emails took longer than finding all 87 links!
- Results: Many authors who I idolize wrote back telling me they were honored to be featured. Many of them shared the article with their networks, which was awesome.
- Lesson: Thank people who have helped you no matter how big or famous they might be. You would think they get emails like this all the time, but they don’t. They mostly get emails seeking help. Make their day!
Two: I ask random people on Twitter to grab drinks
- The results: Instead of meeting for drinks, it turned into a networking event and over 70 people attended. We even created a meetup group so we can do another four meetups this year.
- Lesson: The answer is always “no” unless you ask!
Three: I reached out to 1,000 complete strangers on LinkedIn
When I graduated from college and started looking for a job, I joined my college alumni group on LinkedIn. I went through every member in the group to see if they were located in New York and if they worked in marketing/public relations. I wrote a LinkedIn message to each person who fit that criteria and asked them for help (now called the “Alumni Networking Solution”).
I had so much success that I joined about 20 marketing/public relations groups on LinkedIn and used the same strategy. I ended up emailing over 1,000 complete strangers.
- Results: Everyone who responded gave me great advice, which helped me land my first job. One of those people is my mentor and we have been talking for the last six years.
- Lesson: Ask for help! People are willing to help you if you are polite and you ask them in the right way.
Four: I respond to everyone who tweets my articles
See for yourself (@Jmmuscarello). I love connecting with people who share my articles and find them helpful. I always ask them, “What was your favorite part of the article?”
- Results: I use the feedback people provide to help created better content for you.
- Lesson: Feedback is the breakfast of champions and people really appreciate that you listen.
Five: I followed up with Gary Vaynerchuk for eight months to get a 10-minute interview
Gary Vaynerchuk is my idol and I always wanted to interview him. When I first reached out I was rejected. The second time I reached out, I was accepted. When the big day finally came there was no call from him.
I was bummed. I followed up and there was a scheduling conflict and we were able to set a new date.
- Results: I was able to interview my idol, who I consider to be the ultimate networker.
- Lesson: People are busy. They are not trying to hurt your feelings. Sometimes they just need a friendly reminder.
I attended 99U’s Pop-Up School and paid for it with my own money. Here are the things I learned at the conference:
- Results: It was one of the best vacations I ever took and I had the time of my life.
- Lesson: Investing in your own personal development is essential to success.
Seven: I send thank you notes to people who help me
The thank you note is always hand-written and sometimes includes something a little special. I even developed the acronym G.R.E.A.T to help other people write great professional thank you notes.
- Results: How to write a professional thank you note has become one of my most popular blog posts.
- Lesson: Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. It’s the little things that make people happy.
Eight: I send follow up emails after networking events
If I meet someone at a networking event that I want to get to know I always email them. I always make the follow up email about the other person. It’s never about how they can help me; it’s always about how I might be able to help them.
- Results: I have helped and received advice from some of the smartest people in my industry.
- Lesson: You have to take initiative and follow up with people. They are not going to reach out to you.
Nine: I sent an amazing girl pajamas and slippers for her birthday
I got the idea after we were talking on the phone one night and she mentioned that the new state she just moved was very cold. It turned out to be a pretty memorable gift.
- Results: She later told me on the phone, “Every night when I put on my slippers I think of you.”
- Lesson: A memorable gift doesn’t always require something complicated or fancy.
Ten: I email people just to say “hello”
A typical email could be as simple as this. What makes this weird is that I don’t need anything from them. I am sending them an article or a new tool I read about that will help them in their career or business.
- Results: People I email return the favor and share the same types of articles with me.
- Lesson: Be helpful without having an agenda. This is how true friendships and relationships are built.
Embrace being different and use it to your advantage. Be who you are and stop trying to be someone your not. When you are like everyone else you are no longer memorable. (click to Tweet)
I know that you are reading this post because you are different. You want to:
- Learn how to build a network with strong relationships.
- Have access to 80 percent of jobs that are not posted publically.
- Have the opportunity to have accessing to some of the smartest people because you know how reach out to them.
That’s really why I created Endless Job Offers. It is to help you achieve the above goals and advance your career.
Now it’s your turn.
Which strategy was your favorite? Leave a comment below.