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Another Way to Up Your Networking Stock: Pimp Your Friends

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Networking is a player’s ball when it comes to staying on top of your employment game. But unemployment rates have made it increasingly difficult to stay ahead using traditional tricks of the trade.

So if you really want to up your networking stock, you might need to turn some new tricks. That’s right; you need to start pimping your friends.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter. This isn’t that kind of party. We’re not talking brothels and cash for favors to get ahead in this networking exchange. The only solicitations we’re advocating are business cards and intel on your friends’ professional assets.

You see, having a diverse talent pool in your contacts list—people who could be a resource to others—can make you a crown jewel in networking circles, both on a personal and professional level. So take advantage of your professionally well-endowed friends and pimp their expertise at your next social event with these tips from the player’s handbook:

Keep track of your contacts’ professional prowess in your little black book

There’s something to be said about the power of association. The more reputable the company you keep, the more your personal stock increases.

Say you have friends with talents that could benefit someone you’re trying to network with. For example, a friend who’s a guru at repairing cars, a party-planning maven, caterer, website designer, financial planning phenom, etc. If you have valuable, reliable, readily accessible contacts you’re willing to share with other movers and shakers, they’ll view you as a hot commodity. There’s always someone jonesing for a hookup to get them ahead on a project, get a great deal on a service or find a way out of the dog house.

So channel your inner Heidi Fleiss. Go through your little black book and take inventory of your contacts’ skills and abilities. Use programs like Huntsy and Evernote to keep a scorecard of their talents and roster at hand. Then, when opportunity knocks, break out your little black book, stand back and watch all the johns secretly beating a path to your door.

Set your friends up on blind dates (a.k.a. employee referral programs)

Employee referrals are one of the best ways to get noticed by your employer and go to the top of the food chain when reviewing candidates. Managers and recruiters live by the “birds of a feather” motto because it saves them sourcing time—and it could boost your wallet and professional street cred in the process.

So play matchmaker with your friends who are looking for love in the unemployment line and submit their resumes to your company’s employee referral program. Many of these programs offer monetary rewards (up to several thousand dollars) for candidates who work their way up the interview process ladder. And while I said this article wouldn’t involve any cash for favors (my bad!), if your friends end up gainfully employed, you could be looking at them with dollar signs in your eyes.

Get a professional wingman to be your plus one at networking events

The professional networking scene has made a crossover to the bar and club scene. And since bringing a wingman improves your personal prospects, why not try it in your professional life?

Pay it forward with your unemployed friends and invite them to be your plus one at company events and happy hours. They’ll be delighted for the free eats and potential contacts, and you’ll have a buffer for those annoying coworkers.

In addition, employers may find your friend professionally attractive as the arm candy of one of their own. Given your employer likes and trusts you, that could translate to the company you keep and score major schmoozing points in your networking portfolio. You + One = Major Score for everyone.

Yolanda M. Owens is a recruiting sensei, intern whisperer and awarding-winning author of How to Score a Date with Your Potential Employer. Learn more about Yolanda and her employer “dating” tips by visiting her website www.yolandamowens.com or fan her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/howtoscoreadate.

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Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=172339646152677 Spark Hire

    Great post! It’s true, in today’s tough economic climate we all need a friend. Referring your friends could be a great way to show your company how serious you are about your future there. Connecting your friends with the movers and shakers could also give you a leg up when it comes to switching jobs or finding a new position. So whether you’re introducing your friend to a valuable contact or giving feedback on their video resume, remember helping your friends can really help you.