Build a network of people who provide mutual help. This is the most productive use of your time. However, there is a method to this madness. You must network smartly. Do not network for the sake of networking, but network for positive, constructive results. If you do not achieve good results, you are not networking effectively.

Build a network and achieve the following:

1. Build a network of people who provide mutual help.
2. Develop a wide network of friends and collaborators.
3. Develop a fine-tuned network of mutual, complementary job-searching peers and helpers.
4. Attend networking meetings and events.
5. Cultivate good job references through your network.
6. Join ClubNet (Job Club) and participate in professional networking.
7. Network through the deans of your college.
8. Network with friends of a friend.

Fallacy: “Network with Everybody and Anybody”

You can waste more of your valuable time following this bad advice. Judy Rosemarin, founder of Sense-Able Strategies wrote, “Networking does not mean making thousands of contacts. Instead, write provocative letters introducing yourself, then arrange ways to discuss mutually interesting subjects with a few key people. If you view your search as a personal research project on a compelling subject-your own future-you’ll find it easier to collect critical information and ideas.”

As the broader base of your business network triangle increases, the number of people you need to speak with to reach the right decision makers increases. Hence, the time it takes to reach the key decision makers increases.

You do not have enough hours in the day to talk with everyone. This is why it is not such a good idea to speak with every neighbor, postal delivery person, milkman, yardman, church member, door-to-door solicitor, friend, relative, former employee, classmate, and stranger in the marketplace. They may all be well intentioned, but are not connected to the apex of your business network triangle. Hence, you need to be judicious about whom you talk to in your networking activities.

It is more productive and effective to talk to people in your industry who know of business openings in their companies and within their networks. This approach enhances your focus and effectiveness, and further increases your odds of finding the clients you are seeking. A side benefit is that you can validate your value, experience, and credentials with those in the know within the industry of today’s business market.

David Hale, Ph.D., PCC, a Corporate Performance Consultant, University Professor and Professional Certified Coach, is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and seminar leader. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the DHI-Communication. For more than 20 years, Dr. Hale has trained professional coaches, ministers, clinicians, executives, teachers, government agents and private individuals using the coaching methods and skills that he has designed.