The Power of Common Interests and Information


What makes networking work is that everyone is fundamentally comfortable with conversation, sharing of information, and helping another human being. It’s 100% natural. When it happens, networking has an easy flow.


When people need information about important matters of daily life, they usually get it by asking around. For instance, when parents need a babysitter, they usually ask other parents. When you need a new doctor or dentist, you might ask around. You probably decide which movies to see or avoid, based on asking around and talking to people, and it is the same with everything from your classes and instructors to which computer or cell phone to buy. Asking around usually provides you with some advance information that enables you to make a more informed decision. We all do this kind of thing all the time, usually without noticing that we are doing it.


All of this is networking… real networking, and not the stuff you read about in some job search article or website. What makes it real is that the two people talking to each other create a kind of shared interest and connection, and an implied trust is developed and shared. The shared interest could be that they are both are athletes or are in the same major. The connection could also be that they have a mutual friend or they share the same university. The key is that they share an interest in someone, something, or somewhere.


Real networking is what happens at parties. You meet someone, and in the first few minutes, you look for a common interest (people, activities, interests, attraction, personality). If there is no common interest to be found, the conversation usually goes nowhere, and you go your separate ways. However, if you find some common interest, the conversation usually takes off.


The other thing that happens in a real network is that people share valuable information. Information is free, but in today’s complicated society, it is becoming more common to share the valuable information in one-to-one settings, not over electronic airways. If you are an employer looking for a good addition to your company, it is becoming more valuable to ask current employees for their leads and employee recommendations rather than exclusively relying on job boards or career center advertising.



About the Author

Russ Hafferkamp is the Founder and CEO of the Athlete Success Network and Managing Director and Co-Founder of Career Athletes, LLC ( Russ is recognized as a leader and coach in the career development of collegiate and elite athletes and is the author of “CareerBall: The Sport Athletes Play When They’re Through Playing Sports” and "CareerBall: The Athlete Career Guide and Handbook".

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