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Effective Networking? or Blowing It?!?

When you’re networking, how do you know if you’re blowing it?

  • If you ask everyone you talk to if they know of a job for you… you’re probably blowing it!
    – Instead ask: “Who do you know that would be good for me to network with?” They may not like being put on the spot about a job, but may be willing to refer you to others. You want to keep that networking chain going!

  • If you don’t bother to contact people that have been referred to you… you’re probably blowing it!
    – Often people will tell their referrals that they gave you their name. If you don’t bother following up with what they gave you the first time, there won’t be a second time. A referral may look like a dead end on the surface but often turns into another lead.

  • If you wait several days or weeks to follow up on a referral… you’re probably blowing it!
    - If it doesn’t look like you have a sense of urgency, they won’t either

  • If you don’t provide people you talk to with a way to easily contact you again… you’re probably blowing it!
    – Give them your business card and e-mail with contact info; they may think of a lead a week from now and not know how to reach you.

  • If you don’t follow up every conversation with a Thank You note or email… you’re probably blowing it!
    – Send a Thank You Note or e-mail within 24 hours of EVERY conversation; while you (and they) still remember the discussion. It builds goodwill that leads to more referrals, and remember to give include your contact information every time.

  • If you don’t keep track of who you’ve connected with or you contact the same person again forgetting previous conversations… you’re probably blowing it!
    - Put processes into place to keep from looking foolish. Use a spreadsheet or contact management system; note who referred you, with dates and topic of conversations.

  • If you don’t continue to update your networking contacts with your status… you’re probably blowing it!
    - They may think you're not looking anymore 3 weeks later. Send periodic updates in an e-mail to your networking contacts every few weeks. This reminds them you are still looking and might prompt their memories of new contacts or ideas.

  • If you act dismissive or ungrateful for ideas or referrals you don’t think are helpful… you’re probably blowing it!
    - They won’t bother offering up any more if they feel you don’t value what they give.

  • If you talk negatively or have a negative attitude about your previous job, company, or manager… you’re probably blowing it!
    – You should always only give a brief synopsis of your last role that is no way bitter or negative.

  • If you talk about problems in your job search, or bad interview experiences… you’re probably blowing it!
    - People won’t want to refer you to a friend if you are negative, unprofessional, or appear to be failing.

  • If you talk about problems in your personal life… you’re probably blowing it!
    – A positive attitude is the single most important factor in your networking! People are much more willing to give leads and contacts to someone that’s upbeat, professional, and will represent them well.

  • If you show up to a networking meeting in jeans and a T-shirt because you figure ‘it’s not an interview’… you’re probably blowing it!
    - People (even good friends) are much more willing to give leads and contacts to someone that looks professional, and many networking meeting can become real interviews!

These are the most common errors I see consistantly in Job Seekers.

Networking is a critical part of a successful job hunt! Always present yourself the best way you can, and show appreciation for any and all information gained!


Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!


Christopher said...

Great comments on networking, this is not only the most important thing to do during job searching but also to continue once you have a job. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
Chris Coxe
Sr. Sales Executive
OPIN Systems

harveyandruss said...

Great list of things to remember in all of your networking acrivities, not just job search. Commomon courtesy 101, but there is probably at least one sin each of us can relate to in one way or another.

Karen said...

Loved this one.... and sooooo true. If you show up to a networking meeting in jeans and a T-shirt because you figure ‘it’s not an interview’… you’re probably blowing it!

Casual and relaxed is one thing- but yea folks- this can kinda be like the nightmare where you are naked in front of your classmates.

Be the part- but be comfortable. No need in being something you are not- but do look the part- and act professionally. Because everyone's crazy about a sharp dressed man (or woman)- but I got that song into your head didn't I?

Want some free career advice? I am Karen, The Resume Chick. Holla at me!

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely excellent advice. Every now & then, a "networking best practices" post is absolutely necessary. Thank you.

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