To truly grow your network, you have to give. A lot.

I have previous written about growing and maintaining your network. You have to keep your network warm for when you truly need it. You must invest in your network so that you are always in the back of people’s minds.

Give to Grow Your Network
Everyone is born with the ability to build intimate relationships with scale. Not everyone uses the ability well.
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And you have to give to your network with no expectation (but certainly a hope) of a return.

I recently received an email from a member of my network. I had reached out to him as I do with each member of my network quarterly and he replied that he was looking for a job.

I told him my advice and about a month later, I received this email:

Hi Matt,

I hope all is well. We spoke in length recently about pursuing Affiliate Manager opportunities. I just wanted to let you know I landed a position with an OPM. I took your advice and just picked the phone up and called the OPM. We talked for a little while and I had the job. You were right about just making phone calls. They are the easiest way to communicate. I just want to thank you for your advice and I let you know that it helped me land this current opportunity.


He asked me for advice on how to reach out to OPMs (OPMs are outsourced program managers for companies’ affiliate marketing programs). I told him that, like in most businesses, most prospective employees simply fill out a form online, email a resume, or at best ask for an email introduction. Rarely does someone pick up the phone make his or her pitch to a live person. That’s some free job hunting advice for you.

I’ve mentioned before that 100% of my job offers over the past seven years have come from my network. Not a single one from job boards, emailing my resume, or filling out some silly form online. Each of them resulted from the genesis of a warm network.

A good friend of mine recently told me that he described me to his company (who was looking for a consultant in my area of expertise) in the following way:

Matt has the unique ability to build intimate relationships with scale.


That is a powerful statement.

While it may be unique, I do not believe that it is innate or that I was born special. I believe that everyone is born with the ability to build intimate relationships with scale.

What separates me, to be blunt, is that I hustle at it. I prioritize it in my calendar. I do it when my calendar says so. I do when it excites me. I do it when I dread it. And I spent a lot of time and money building and maintaining my network.

It really is that simple.

If I had any “secrets,” I reveal them in these three posts:

Maintaining a Warm Network – What I’ve Done

Your Networking Budget – 200 Hours and $1000

A Thank You Revolution

That is my playbook. The rest is up to you doing the work.

If you truly needed your network today, would they be there for you? What are you doing to maintain a warm network? 

8 thoughts on “Give to Grow Your Network

  1. Jon Stolpe says:

    Matt, I think you do an incredible job growing and nurturing your network. I try to do many of the same things that you’ve outlined above. It’s about priorities. If you want to make it work…if it’s truly a priority, you will invest in your network.

  2. Dan Erickson says:

    As a college instructor, seeking and gaining employment is a little less about networking and more about skills, preparation, and personality. I’ve never had a large professional network and might be in trouble if I had to find work outside of education.

    I’m currently building a network in the creative ventures, but in that world, most everybody is trying to do the same thing and may not be able to get each other jobs.

    But we can help each other by sharing each other’s work and connections. For instance, I share an artist, Vensan Kamberk’s art on my blog and he in return shares my blog in his social networks. I pay an up-and-coming photographer to do my work rather than a seasoned professional. I use a recording studio of a friend and then give him the promotion and title of “producer” on my blog. Sharing our talents is key.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I’m not overly familiar with the world of education but even there, all things being equal, people hire who they know and like.

      I have a friend who was offered an adjunct professor position, all because he knows someone. Certainly, he is more than qualified, but there are others equally so and perhaps more so.

      1. Dan Erickson says:

        Oh absolutley, Matt, especially with adjuncts. Fulltime positions are hired by committees and it’s a little more challenging to get a position based on knowing someone, but it still happens.

  3. Lily Kreitinger says:

    I used to think that I was awful at networking. The more I grow personally and professionally, the more I realize I have always been a connector. If a friend or acquaintance shares a problem they are having, I immediately think of who in my network could be of assistance. In the past, I got my two favorite jobs by connecting with people that knew of me, even if they didn’t know me closely. Best decisions I ever made was working for them. They catapulted me into where I am today. This is why I recognize the importance of personal connections and their efficiency over job boards and cold calls when searching for work.

    And… I’m studying your every move because you have mad networking skills that I want to learn.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Skills? No. Hustle, Yes.

      I’ve open my entire playbook. It’s short. 🙂

      Like I say in the post, the good ones just do it. They do it when they’re nervous, tired, grumpy, etc. Once I started just doing it and not worrying about my skills or abilities, I started seeing massive payoffs.

  4. Carol Dublin says:

    You are an inspiration Matt! Love your hustle and your planning – definitely need to make it intentional or it will never happen. Keep up the good work!

  5. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    This is a great post Matt! It’s so true. I dont think I’ve ever received a job from job boards, websites etc either! Looking back it has always been knowing someone, or knowing someone who knew someone! And you’re right, that was a huge compliment to you. “intimate relationships with scale” that’s what networking is all about! building those relationships, but building them in a way that they can grow and expand!
    I agree with Carol, you’re an inspiration 😉

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