“The more the merrier” is a phrase that may ring true when it comes to networking, since the more people you meet, the higher your chances are of finding great job opportunities. However, there is still a better approach you can take, and that is to target your networking efforts.

It’s more or less the same to how you would find people on LinkedIn to network with. If you want to see faster and better results, you need to connect with the right people.

An effective way for you to do this is to come up with your own networking criteria. This will serve as your reference when you’re attending networking events or looking for people to connect with online. A criteria can also help you manage your time more effectively.

Now, a networking criteria may differ from person to person, and yours might even be completely unique from everyone else’s. However, here is a guideline of who I think are people you should include in your criteria.

Connect with people who…

  1. Work at your target companies. For you to learn more about the work environment and culture as well as how to get a job there.
  1. Are in your profession or ideal role. For you to have a better idea on the day-to-day duties and responsibilities. Additionally, you can find out the kind of skills or talent required to be successful at that particular role.
  1. You admire and want to learn from like high performers you’ve always looked up to. These are people whom you can ask for valuable advice and insight to help motivate you.
  1. Are involved with recruiting and hiring. These people can also be decision-makers who will determine whether you’re a fit candidate to go through the interview process of a company or employer.
  1. Are well connected. In other words, people who have already built a vast network of people. While they’re not necessarily connected with your target company themselves, they may know someone who is. These are whom you can consider as your “2nd-level network”.
  1. Are decision makers/influencers. Otherwise known as people who are in senior or executive levels in the company hierarchy. However, if you’re just starting out I don’t recommend you jump right into connecting with these people. Instead, I recommend you build your confidence first before you do so in order to make a powerful impact.
  1. Enjoy meeting and helping people. These are people who have indicated that they’re “open to connect” on their profiles. When you meet them in person, they simply exude an aura of friendliness and approachability.

You can also try…

Attending networking events targeted to a particular industry or attending information sessions of your target companies. It can be way easier to find people connected in the same industry and even the company you are targeting this way.

If you can’t find the right people right away, don’t be discouraged! It can take a little time (and a lot of meeting new people) until you find the perfect connections. Remember, while the people you meet won’t be the right ones all the time, they may know someone who is!

Have other tips you’d like to share about finding the right people to network with? Let me know in the comments below!