Paid in Full #013: How to build a network that works

published4 months ago
4 min read

Read time: 6 minutes

No matter how smart you are, you can't get far in your career alone. It's possible to be so talented that people can't ignore you and to have a clear vision around where you want to be in 10 years. But you also need establish the right relationships because it's not just about who you know - it's about who knows you. You might be able to land the interview or be considered for a promotion because of your skill. But the relationships you have at every level will often be the deciding factor on whether or not you secure the role. Here’s a guiding principle to help:

Guiding Principle:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

Sometimes it’s easier to get things done on your own and to leave people behind in the pursuit of your goals. But as humans, having people around us gives us extra durability. Don’t fall into the trap of sacrificing relationships for your goals. So many people try to build careers & businesses on their own but end up failing. If you don't have someone to lean on when things aren't going according to plan, it's very likely that you will give up. And there is no better feeling than celebrating a win with someone who knows what it took for you to get there. Don't go alone.

People hire people

No matter how many job boards you have in your email, nothing compares to knowing the right people in the right rooms. If you’re trying to get your foot in the door at a company you admire, you need to find someone to give you the inside scoop of what it’s really like to work there. You need to find someone to vouch for you if you like what you hear. At least 45% of internal hires are because of referrals. If you’re trying to pick someone’s brain about their successful start-up or even collaborate on a new business adventure, people need to know what you are looking for – so tell them.

Conferences and networking events

Whether they are in-person or online, conferences are a great place to meet like-minded people in your field or across industries. Networking events are too. But you have to do research and come in with a game plan. Know your audience. This means using Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social media platform to your advantage to learn about who will be there, what their interests are, and what they have accomplished. This way you’ll know if your career paths align and if they are the right connection for you.

If you live in the Toronto area this week, over 240 people will be attending the Rep Matter Breakfast Club at the DMZ tomorrow (June 1st) at 8.30am. I'll be there talking about all things entrepreneurship plus you will get the chance to connect with other employees from great companies, founders and even investors.

My friend Ryan Ing will be hosting hosting a Toronto Tech Mixer 3.0 on June 8 – and you don't want to miss out this either. There will be over 150 people to meet and learn from, including you. What's cool is that the event has no headliners or key speakers. The attendees are the ones who can decide to go on stage and share some achievements or upcoming projects. Otherwise, you can choose to mingle and get to know people who are also trying to elevate their career in different corners of the industry. Summer and fall are full of conferences and events that will allow you to network. Some of the biggest ones to look forward to are Collision Conference, Afrotech and BFutur. Almost every conference has an in-person and virtual option these days for you to choose from. Just remember that nothing meets building relationships in person.

Show, don’t just tell

Don’t just tell people what you can do. Show them. Making your work public can be the key to getting your talents discovered. It could be a short-term contract, a freelancing role, or an opportunity to collaborate in the future. The point is, people want to see what you can do. It’s more convincing than any elevator pitch you can give them.

Of course, you can design your own website with your marketing campaigns, the software you have built, the programs you have created. But you can also use a website to build this for you. Websites like Behance, Portfoliobox, Carbonmade, SquareSpace, and more are great ways to showcase your work.

LinkedIn Groups

Did you know there are 2.8 million LinkedIn Groups to discover? They are full of people who are dedicated to professional development, collaboration, and innovation. Joining the right LinkedIn Group can take you one step closer to finding the colleague, recruiter, advocate, or mentor who will help you change the course of your life. LinkedIn Groups are all about sharing knowledge.

You can make the most of them by contributing your personal and professional experiences, listening to other people’s perspectives, and encouraging discussion. Ask questions about what they’ve learned in their line of work. Throw out feelers for a project you want to start. This group is where networking comes alive, so take advantage of it. Next time you log onto LinkedIn, type in the key word you’re looking for in the search bar, then click groups. Prepare to be blown away by all the opportunities you are about to have in front of you.

Recommendation of the week:

Sign up for an event or conference.

This is the best time to meet people because of all the conferences happening in the summer and fall. You will get to build genuine relationships and meet people you usually would not have access to. Check out the events listed above and pick one to attend!

Did you find this useful? Feel free to share Paid in Full with someone who might find it valuable too!

See you next week,


Paid in Full Newsletter by Tobi Oluwole

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