Let’s say you need an “in” at a big company and you know someone there. If that person is nothing more than a business card you picked up at a networking event, what are the chances he or she will actually end up being able to provide you the value you’re looking for? Probably very slim. Maybe–you never know. But not super likely.
But if your contact is a friend, someone you speak with on a somewhat regular basis, someone with whom you’ve grabbed coffee and connected over a shared love for sci-fi movies, etc., the person will feel so much more compelled to help you.
Reason being: You’re friends.
By no means is this a suggestion to go be one of those social climbers who pretends to make friends in the name of getting to the top. Honestly, you (and everyone else) could smell that tactic from a mile away.
What I am proposing is that you genuinely open yourself up to other people and connect in an emotional way. Share your goals, share your aspirations, share your hopes and dreams and what challenges you’re currently facing–and then let them do the same.