We all hear that networking is the key to finding a (good) job. Yet it often doesn’t work. Upon closer look, however, the problem is not that networking itself doesn’t work; it’s that it’s done ineptly.
Networking does NOT mean: Imposing on others. Acting like a beggar. Accepting a friend’s offer to “circulate” your resume. Going to meetings you’d normally shun just to give out your resume and collect business cards. Asking family and friends if they know of openings. Requesting a meeting to pick someone’s brain. Calling a former colleague you haven’t talked with in the last decade to ask is she knows of any openings in your field… These kinds of activities have given networking a bad name. No wonder you put it off! Bad networking is worse than none at all.
Similarly, the people you contact–no matter how willing in general they may be to help–don’t like feeling duped, being asked to have their brains picked, or meeting with no clear purpose or agenda.
Done right, though, networking gets you to people and opportunities you won’t see advertised. You find out who’s got the problems you can help solve–whether or not there are posted “openings.” You gain access to hiring decision-makers, bypassing the HR fortress. All this while preserving your dignity and without imposing on others. Whether your goal is a job change, career transition, or increasing your current career effectiveness, networking done well increase the odds of achieving your goal.
Effective networkers convey a clear purpose. They prepare. They approach others respectfully. They recognize that we’re all linked, and they offer to help others. They follow up, and they thank each person who’s been helpful along the way.
The best networkers know that exchanging information and resources is the key to career–and life–satisfaction and success. Whether you’re happy in your job, looking for your next one, or considering a shift in direction, networking done right is essential. Here’s to your growing network!
Unlock the Hidden Job Market, by Duncan Mathison and Martha I. Finney presents a strategy and practical advice and examples for doing an effective job search. Published in 2010, their approach fits our times. In addition to “6 Steps to a Successful Job Search when Times are Tough,” described in their book, the authors have an active and informative web page. It’s worth a look, too.
If you’re feeling worn out, stymied, or at your wit’s end with trolling for openings in online job listings, convert that time into reading and applying what Mathison and Finney recommend.
It may seem daunting and time consuming, but it will be time much better invested than mind-numbing hours at your computer cutting and pasting your resume into one application after another. Plus, you’ll likely find a much better job.
Consider a Career Action Planning (CAP) Session
> Have been looking for work but not getting resultsIn this 90-120 minute meeting, we can get to the root of your career problem and come up with a plan to solve it.
For more information call me at 314-752-1373 or use the comment form on my website.
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