If I had a dollar for every job seeker who told me he or she was “networking ’til they were blue in the face,” but had made no progress in the job hunt, I could take a very nice vacation!
The fact is, many people think they are networking, but all they are doing is telling everyone they know that they are looking for a job. That is not networking. That is telling everyone you know that you are looking for a job. (Let’s ignore the questionable grammar there – you know what I mean.)
In fact, I volunteered recently at a non-profit job fair. I was waiting to have a word with the organizer, but one of the job seekers was speaking to her. He introduced himself and said, “I’d love to talk to someone in your organization about sales, as that is my specialty.” I watched the organizer…She looked like she wasn’t sure what to say or how to respond. The request was so broad and non-specific. I could hear her thinking, “What does he want from me?” (Or, at least that is what I imagine she was thinking!)
I know what I was thinking – “That is NOT a way to ask for a networking meeting or informational interview.”
In a conversation with a client recently, we discussed networking. He considers himself introverted and wonders if in-person networking is for him. My advice to introverted job seekers is the same as it is for my extroverted clients. To successfully network, you need to do five things:
- Ask questions
- Be interested in the replies
- Have a story
- Follow up
Stay tuned for more details and how to successfully leverage these steps for your networking enjoyment!
photo by Light Play