Up Your Game: 6 Tips to Network Your Way to the Top (+Giveaway)

By Davis Nguyen I grew up in Riverdale, a poor town outside of Atlanta. To give you an idea of what I mean by poor, our per capita income is $15,337, while the state average and national averages are $36,869 and $42,693 respectively.

Growing up in Riverdale, opportunities were limited for me: I didn’t get a chance to leave my town much, there weren’t many people who I could look up to, and money (lack of) was almost always an issue in some way. My family wanted my cousins, siblings, and me to have more than what we had growing up.

Their answer for social mobility was through education. I attended a under-performing high school, but with a supportive administration and cast of teachers I was able to achieve my and my parents’ dream when I received full scholarships to Yale and Harvard, ultimately choosing Yale. In college I was able to travel, connect with people who were like me, and change my view-point about what was possible. It seemed my family was right: excelling in education meant opening doors.

Who knows you?

In college, while I valued education (I read as much as I could and learned from everyone around me) I learned another valuable lesson: in my early days, I saw freshmen get into senior seminars I didn’t know I could because they knew the professor; sophomores talk their way into invites for events while I was on the waitlist; juniors land prestigious internships without having to be interviewed; and seniors who had low GPAs receive offers from big firms like Google.

I did not resent these people: in fact I saw it as an opportunity to learn from them. The ultimate lesson was: what I knew was important, but who knew me was even more important.

Author David Bradford’s Story

I chose to review David’s book after I learned about our similar childhoods; in fact he had to overcome more than I did.

David grew up in Burbank, California right after World War II and his father was an alcoholic trying to raise seven children. Today, David is the Executive Chairman of HireVue, a tech company providing on-demand digital interviewing, where he previously also served as CEO. In addition David can count Larry King, Steve Young, and Steve Wozniak to be close friends.

David credits his success in his personal and professional life to his network of friends and advisors, a network that has taken him more than six decades to establish and one he continues to build.

Why David wrote Up Your Game

David wrote Up Your Game to show how easy and obvious it is to build a network who will care about your success. Up Your Game is centered around David’s six principles for networking. These principles turn the negative connotations of “networking” into positive views of “connecting” with others.

His six Up Your Game principles are:

  1. Start Up: realize that networking is more about giving than receiving
  2. Show Up: put yourself in situations to meet people
  3. Follow Up: follow-up right after the first contact
  4. Link Up: always be connecting and meeting people
  5. Stand Up: always protect your reputation
  6. Scale Up: realize that building a network takes time

Each chapter in David’s book focuses on one of these principles, provides you with examples from David’s time building his network, and advice on how you can apply them to your own life.

Memorable Quotes

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

Networking is truly more about giving than getting. When making a new contact your first thought should be: “How can I help this new acquaintance?"

Get to know people above you AND below you. Think of the world as more flat in relationships, not so hierarchically.

Remember that you can learn something from everyone. Never underestimate the impact that a single individual can have on your life and business.

Giveaway Time!

We are thrilled to give away two copies of David Bradford’s book to two lucky Life After College readers.

For a chance to win, answer the following question and leave your email in the comments by Friday, July 11 We will pick two winners with Random.org and email to let you know!

Comment to be Entered to Win:

Who is at the top of your networking wish list?

Davis Nguyen

About Davis

Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.