Midlevel here and I don’t think I know or fully understand how to network. It feels disingenuous to meet someone with the sole intention of wanting something from them in return. It’s not like making friends with just the idea of having good people in your life. What am I missing? I’ve been on the job market lately and advice I’m hearing is “network, network”/ “your network is your networth” and I’m honestly at a loss as to what to do, or perhaps what questions to ask? -Sigh-

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Networking is not about what you can get from someone, it’s about building genuine relationships. To be honest, this doesn’t happen overnight. But when you reach out to people to learn more about their practice and keep in touch as the months/years go by, suddenly when you’re looking for a new role, that network truly become your net worth.

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I honestly just started making friends. I still refuse to network for “use”

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“I’d love to learn about your practice” is my go to!

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I felt the same way. I changed my mindset to treat networking as just forming and developing new relationships. While I had an ask (a new job), I knew that I could stay at my clerkship for another year if I wanted to do it helped it feel a bit less transactional.
So while you’re looking for a new job take solace in the fact that you have one right now and you can build relationships and see where they go.

It took 2 meetings with the partner who ultimately referred me to my current position.

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I hated networking for that reason, but agree that it works best when you just learn about the other person and in doing so learn how you can be helpful (sometimes that’s work, most times it’s making connections for them or sending info that may be helpful to them).

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Don't focus on the transactional nature of networking.

Honestly, if you don't click with the person, then so be it - irrespective of what that person might give you in respect of instructions down the line.

I have known some of my clients for a long time and frequently meet up for beer and a monthly session of futsal - it's actually uncomfortable to call them as clients at this stage to be honest.

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In what context do you feel better/worse about networking?
Personally I feel great about following up with people via email/LinkedIn. But really hate preforming continuous interest during events. Entertaining and exiting conversations is hard

Think of it this way: they are looking for you too. If there is a job opportunity, they are looking for you as much as your looking for them. And a genuine connection is always a possibility.

Also transactional doesn't have to be a bad word.

It helps me to network before you need something.

Just go to these events to hang out before you may want a new job or want something.

Check out this article. Some great tips here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/jobs/how-not-to-be-a-networking-leech-tips-for-seeking-professional-advice.html

I just spend time with people I genuinely like. But I like people and real relationships so it is easy for me. Some people click and reciprocate. Others aren’t interesting. But it all takes time. Working on bar commmitees with people can create bonds, as may presenting on a panel.

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