The Oldest Trick in the Book: Taking Full Advantage of Your Contacts

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You must have heard it a million times: “Have friends, even in hell”. That’s why every contact is important, even those we may not like that much, because no one knows if they could eventually lend you a hand. It’s not necessary to consider those people your friends, but always try to be friendly. These types of relations used to be abundant one century ago, when our grandparents lacked our current technology. But, like the philosophical current of the eternal return states that time repeats itself in an infinite loop and that exactly the same events will continue to occur in exactly the same way, over and over again, for eternity

The advent of social networks for employment popularised these types of work relationships but with a new name: networking. But, what is networking? By definition, it’s the creation of a network of professional contacts that you should guard, care for and look after if you want to benefit from it —if you need to— during your whole professional career.

Despite networking making us think that these relationships all develop online, that’s hardly the case. You must also know how to cultivate your contacts “the old way”: talking in public, connecting with work colleagues or even attending events to get in contact with people in your same sector.

The Importance of Networking

Paying attention to your networking is no minor thing. Life is a marathon and we can’t predict the future. That’s why it’s important to create a network of contacts so that they can, in case you need it, lend you a hand for such things like finding a job. This is in fact the first important aspect of networking: it’s capacity to present you with employment possibilities both now or in the future. 

The second big reason why networking is cultivated is the search for business or collaboration opportunities. In short, to grow your company. Also, by creating this network of contacts, it will be much easier to detect and study market trends. Perfecting your strategy becomes much simpler if you have a profile in these types of social networks for employment.

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Now the concept is clear, but…

Where to start my network of contacts?

The concept of networking is now clear but, where can I start developing my network of contacts? I’m sure your first thought was the greatest representative of this concept: LinkedIn. According to Statista, the global number of single web users in 2022 was 839 millions — a number that will continue to grow until reaching 1 billion users in 2025. Also Twitter and Instagram are recently being used as employment platforms, creating profiles with original content focused on creating a personal brand.

Two other good examples of social networks for employment are Freelancer —a website where freelancers can access the jobs posted— and Womenalia —a social network focused on finding jobs for women—.

Benefits of Networking in Social Networks for Employment

Like any other strategy, networking will offer some benefits throughout your professional career by establishing new professional relationships. Among its many advantages, the main ones are:

  • Finding new employment offers. These types of platforms are full of opportunities. Most companies post employment offers almost daily and can help you get started in the working world, for example, if you’re a student. They can also help you if you’re looking for a change, maybe in a position that presents you with a professional challenge. On many occasions, even employees themselves, through a post, invite you to get in touch and incorporate you into their selection process.
  • Broaden Your Network of Contacts. You will not only cultivate relationships that can lend a hand if needed, but you will also be presented with an experienced point of view. The amount of experts in different topics inside these social networks is vast — studying, analysing them and reading what they post will present you with a general vision of the trending topics of the market and will help you increase your knowledge.
  • A Chance for New Clients to Discover You. It’s a good way to get visibility organically. You will gain a global vision of what users are interested in, but you also have the advantage of knowing they have checked your profile because it called their attention. In these cases, you should offer a more friendly and personal treatment instead of the mass messages you may use in other media.
  • Offering New Job Positions. The time it takes to find new employees for open or new positions reduces significantly. On these social networks, the amount of people who register in order to find a job is huge, so there will be an equal amount of CVs. Once again, it’s important to highlight that it’s not necessary to be a company in order to post job offers. On many occasions, the workers themselves help in the selection process so that it has more reach and filters less common criteria.
  • Analysing and Studying the Market. There’s no simpler way of observing your competitors’ strategy than in these types of social networks, since you can monitor their content as well as their strategy just by looking at their profile. It will also allow you to see user habits and trends. What’s the great benefit of all this? More informed decision making that has higher possibilities for success.
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Make the Most of Your Relationships with Your Contacts

We should undoubtedly see networking as an investment, i.e., we shouldn’t expect anything in return in the short term, because its benefits are harvested in the future. It’s about a bi-directional action in which we contribute value in search of a hypothetical benefit.

From the very first moment in which you contact another user in LinkedIn, for example, a relationship starts and it’s our short term challenge to nurture it and keep it. In order for this first premise to become true, we must carry out actions that will favour and strengthen the already established links. Do you know which actions are these? Here they are:

  • Send Personalised Contact Requests. You may use the template message that comes up when you send a request, but it won’t have any added value. Try to explain why you are contacting them, what’s interesting about what they do or if there’s any personal achievement that you value. It’s the first step — the subsequent relationship will be based on it.
  • Interact with the Content Being Posted by Your Contacts. Take part in debates or discussions. Congratulate those who achieve things — a certification or a new role in the company. Comment an article posted by someone in your network. In short, if you have come across that content, let the other person know that you’re there. These are great opportunities to gain visibility and keep that relationship we seek to strengthen.
  • Publicise Your Content, but don’t over do it. A good way of entering the debates and generating them is by posting your own content. As long as what you’re posting is created by you, it’s fresh and it offers value, it will be welcomed in these employment platforms. But, be careful with how many times you post it. Not everything you create must be in your profile. Remember that it’s a professional social network and we all hate spam. A bit is good; a lot irritates!
  • Say Thank You and Always Reply Your Messages. People will get back to you and congratulate you as much as you do it for them. Don’t leave unanswered messages; it will only show negligence and lack of interest. Remember we’re looking to cultivate our own personal brand and we must present a good image, even when a comment or a person may not be that relevant for our goal.
  • Use a Cordial Tone. Bearing in mind that it’s a social network for professionals, your tone shouldn’t be too friendly, but also not fake. Be cordial, polite and nice. With these three concepts in mind, you will cultivate a network that has high chances of success. Don’t try to sound grandiose with the language and tone you use.
  • Post Your Doubts. It’s one of the star functionalities of these types of social networks. Posting a doubt or asking for help will make your contacts network reveal itself and will allow you to contact people you still didn’t know, which can be very useful. In this way, we achieve two goals: to continue to develop our network with new contacts and find an answer to our doubts. Your network won’t always expand. Sometimes your own contacts will provide you with what you were looking for. That’s a great moment to cultivate even more those already existing bonds.

“One generates trust from credibility and also through feeling or sharing things in common with others”
– Jane Rodríguez del Tronco, personal branding teacher at EAE Barcelona

The Most Common Mistake in Networking


There’s no doubt about it: the most common mistake is understanding networking as string pulling. That conception shows a selfish and self-interested vision of the task of keeping contacts. Developing a network of contacts won’t only help you find a job, but it will also make you appreciate different points of view, which leads to personal growth. An easy way of detecting true interest is by only replying and interacting with the same group of people constantly. 

That’s why it’s essential to understand that networking is not a last resource. We must work on those contacts if we want to enrich our personal brand and to create an image of ourselves as professionals who are authentic and capable of responding to any challenge that comes our way. In conclusion, we must understand that our goal is to position ourselves in the minds of others, so that they link our image with, for example, the right person to take part in a debate or the ideal candidate for a new opening. Besides that, networking is a great tool to study the movements of the market.

You must have understood by now that networking is a bidirectional exercise in which we seek to contribute with short term value, in search of a future benefit. That is to say: cultivating relationships with our contacts in order to grow as a professional.

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