How To Get A Job: Be A Black Belt At Networking

06/21/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

If you are looking for a job right now, expect that there will be 400 or more other applicants. A coaching client in Santa Monica, Ca reported that she is competing with 500 other applicants for a two week TV production job. When the competition is that stiff even for temporary work, you need to be a peak performer -- a Black belt.

Last week's post riled some with the suggestion to Burn Your Resume. If you are still clutching that single, antiquated piece of paper I am praying that you will check it out.

Heck, don't read my post. Check out the comments of other readers that are using the suggestions -- and getting jobs! Nicky D followed the post's advice. She customized her resume. There were 400 other applicants. The company called her -- because of her PPP resume.

Become a Black Belt
How do you step to the head of the job seeker line? One of two ways:

Your Resume or Knowing Someone
Now, more than ever it is essential that you become masterful at networking. Why? It is free. If you are a black belt in networking you are the best form of advertising and promoting yourself or your business. Networking generates ideas and makes whatever you are doing richer. Asking for assistance makes it easier to accomplish. In today's business environment only Black belts will survive and thrive.

Black Belt's Don't Whine
"Back in the day when I started recruiting, before email, the Internet, contact management software or even MS Windows, the only way to network was to make dozens of phone calls a day. Only the tough skinned, most persistent of us survived the process." Says recruiter Nicole Spicer.

Today you have hundreds if not thousands of passive ways to reach out to people -- there are no excuses not to network!

Four Basic Rules of Black Belt Networking:
1. Build relationships.
2. Engage as a "human being" not a "human doing." Don't treat others as a means to an end.
3. Consistently grow your network.
4. Do not wait until you need a network -- it may be too late.

If you do nothing else:

Give First
Look for ways to contribute to those with whom you are networking. Networking is a reciprocal process.

Follow Up
Call valuable new contacts within 24 hours of meeting them. I am a big believer in the power of a hand written thank you note. Stay in touch.

The World is Your Dojo
Now, you have the basics of being a Black belt of Networking. Please take this week to go out and practice. We will do it together. I am off to a networking lunch right now!

Here are the tips to put into practice:

Black belt Tip:
Treat everyone you meet as a friend.

Black belt Tip:
Black belt's practice.

Black belt Tip:
Always offer to help.

Black belt Tip:
Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

Network with everyone. Help comes from the most unlikely people and places sometimes.
Network with colleagues, bosses, subordinates, vendors, recruiter, mentors, family, friends, acquaintances, supporting groups and strangers.
Network by using your Rolodex, contact list from work and play, company directories and networking websites.

Network at any appropriate time.
Network all the time and consistently. Build a networking plan and work on the plan everyday.
Network specifically by reaching out to an individual, and generally by dropping it into conversations.

Network everywhere that is appropriate.
Network via email, IM, online, on the phone, in person, at job fairs, at church, on the ball field, at a party, at your kid's soccer game.
Network by using business networking boards. Join and utilize sites like,,,,, etc.
Network by joining online groups and in-person groups. Locate and join groups like alumni from colleges, past employers, industry communities and users groups. Groups put you in a community with people who have similar paths and messages.
Network via Social boards. Join and utilize sites like FaceBook and MySpace.

Network directly and honestly.
Network by telling others, you just might find your next mentor, employer, funder or partner.
Network by asking for referrals and offering reciprocal assistance -- immediately or into the future.
Network by building a bridge of people to enhance your current career or to start a new career.
Network by researching the companies you want to work for and find people within the company to correspond with.

What are your successes and disasters in networking? What are your tips and tricks? Please share a comment. You can receive notice of my blogs every Friday by checking Become a Fan at the top. Ask Eli a question at: or go to

Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized executive coach and motivational speaker. Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped", (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards. Eli is a reinvention catalyst, who can transform your professional and personal life from Funky to Fabulous with her ten, trademarked Turnaround Techniques that create rapid and remarkable results. Check out her blog at