By: Jim Randel
Publisher: Rand Media Company
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: November 26, 2010
"It's not what you know, it's who you know," is an oft repeated quote, particularly for those job hunting. And so too begins the book, The Skinny on Networking. Whether you need to find a job, new customers, or even a loan, networking can help you achieve your goals and author Jim Randel is going to show you how in this short, concise book.
Like the other books in "The Skinny On" series, this one uses two stick figures, Billy and Beth, and their goals and aspirations, to help explain the topic at hand. Billy is a high school history teacher who really wants to teach college-level music. Meanwhile, Beth is an attorney who hopes to become partner at a law firm. Randel argues that the way to meet their goals is to use the power of networking.
We're first given a broad definition of networking, "...developing and utilzing relationships with other people," followed by a very specific list of what it entails. Then, using Billy and Beth to drive his points home, Randel shows them (and us) how they can make networking work for them.
Randel is very specific about what the couple need to do to utilize their list of friends and acquantainces. The author, also a stick figure in this story, suggests Billy start by sending an email to his list of friends and family. Billy is reluctant, but is told, "Don't assume you already know what they can or can't do for you...or, who they know." Excellent advice. Alas, while Billy does send an email, he gets no results and is ready to give up. But, cautions the author, "networking is hard work." More excellent advice. This is just the beginning of the ideas that the author has for Billy. He and Beth are also going to learn about asking for too much, too soon, how to expand your network, and even how to make cold calls.
Through examples from Billy and Beth's life, as well as real life examples (do you know why Paul Revere was far more successful than William Dawes, the other rider on that fateful night in 1775?), the author is able to cover a lot of material with a limited amount of text. He also touches on using social media (mentioning specific sites and what each can do for you) and shows how/why some networking efforts may not be effective. Through the use of brief, succinct text, simple drawings, and great advice, The Skinny on Networking is the perfect starting point for anybody looking to increase their network.
Quill says: If you want to learn how to create and maintain a network for your career or business, get a copy of this book and start reading. It won't take you long and you'll learn a lot!