If you don’t know, the first thing you’re likely asking is…What is a hub anyways?
Hubs are a critical part of any job seekers face-to-face, Linkedin and Facebook networking efforts.
But let’s start out with definitions. A hub is someone in your network who is extraordinarily well connected. In face-to-face networking a hub is the person who “knows everybody”. On Linkedin and Facebook, a hub is an open networker, and has over 500 first level connections.
Think of a hub like the hub of a wheel, with many spokes.
Why are hubs important to a job seeker? Hubs can bring a huge boost to your networking efforts. Think of it this way….Hubs know everybody, so you don’t have to. And if you’re someone who wants to know everybody, other hubs accelerate your efforts.
In face-to-face networking events, for instance, hubs can be your most important connections. Think about it…you tell everyone you meet that you’re looking for a job – how many hiring managers do you meet that are looking for your skill set right now (unless you’re at a job fair)? Hubs can introduce you to many hiring managers, because of the size of their networks.
On Linkedin and Facebook, for a broad networking strategy, connecting to hubs blows up your database, fast. For a tight networking strategy, where job seekers network with a close contacts, adding a few hubs to your network is efficient and adds tremendous firepower without adding significant network management time to your efforts (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/03/linkedin-strategies-1-tight-vs-broad.html).
What’s in it for the hub? This is an important question to ask.
The good news about hubs is that they are well connected. The bad news is that because they are well connected their time is very leveraged. Hubs have a reason greater than personal ego for choosing to spend their time connecting people. Discovering a hub’s needs, and helping the hub first gets their attention and help…almost every time (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2008/06/make-your-network-links-strong-like.html).
Just as I discussed earlier in Why “Networking Doesn’t Work” (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-networking-doesnt-work.html), ask what a hub is looking for to create a bond. Deliver a connection that helps a hub , and you’ve got a personal fan. Ask questions like:
- What 2 things do you need in the next 60 days?
- Why do you come to networking events?
- What types of people do you like to meet at networking events?
- What are two challenges are you facing? Who could help you?
An experienced hub will also ask what you need, especially if you’ve asked first. Should you just ask if he knows anyone hiring Application Development Managers who have led Java teams in the Transportation Industry? What are the chances that your hub will know the exact contact you need (unless you’re at a Java or a Transportation specific event).
A more effective way of asking a hub for help is to ask a broader question. Ask if the hub knows people at specific companies on your target list, people in your target industry, or Java developers. Definitely mention you’re looking for a job and your subject matter expertise. If you ask a hub to connect you to someone else who might know a hiring manager (one off), the hub has a much greater chance of helping you.
On Linkedin and Facebook, hubs can help in some different ways. Connecting to hubs allows you to see their large networks, especially on Linkedin. This can give you a broader network to search (Linkedin), or a broader network to message through status, blogs, notes, and shared items (Facebook).
Communicating, and offering to help a hub first does so much more. This added step cements a bond, gets their attention, and often their help.
Where do you find hubs online? Look at the active members of user groups databases of open networkers, people who list their email address, or just rank a search by number of connections (Linkedin). For more information, see Now That I’m Linked, Who do I Link to? (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2009/12/now-that-im-linked-who-do-i-link-to.html)
While I’m not looking for a job (for myself), I’m an avid networker and hub in the Chicago area and online. At a face-to-face event, my most valuable contacts are hubs. While I enjoy meeting job seekers, I try to meet at least one new hub at each event because hubs know many people seeking jobs (and hiring managers who might be hiring the skill set of one of my clients). Knowing that hubs know everyone, smart job seekers make sure the hubs in their network know they are looking. Smart hiring managers let hubs know also (to a hiring manager, a hub is like a free headhunter).
On Linkedin and Facebook, I’m an open networker (I’ll accept everyone into my network who asks). I specifically seek out hubs to expand my network – especially on Linkedin where your network expands to 3rd level (friends of friends of friends).
How can hubs supercharge your networking efforts?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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