It’s not unusual for job seekers to postpone following up on leads or connecting with people referred to them because they feel like they need to get “all their ducks in a row” before they do.
While it’s certainly a good idea to do some preparation, waiting until you have everything figured out delays the process and excludes opportunities to learn from others to help find some of the answers you need.
This was made apparent to me as one job seeker told me about a networking meeting she had with an ex-coworker. She was excited that the meeting was so productive. She learned a great deal about potential career areas she had not considered, she learned about companies that might be great targets, and she got names of additional contacts that could help. The meeting was immensely helpful to her in defining what she would pursue and who she would reach out to.
Yet… she came to a conclusion that she needed to stop networking for a while to “get her ducks in a row”.
While the meeting she had was so worthwhile, she is moving forward on an assumption that effectively says future meetings won’t be as helpful. The meeting she had helped shape her focus, helped to identify companies and other people she needed. The same potential benefits are likely to happen with future meetings.
The networking and focus processes often work best simultaneously and hand-in-hand. Each meeting provides additional information and ideas to help narrow and sharpen your focus. Each meeting provides much needed practice in a “live fire” situation to make you better for each subsequent meeting. And each meeting is an opportunity to get one step closer to the right position.
Be able to articulate your background, be able to communicate the general focus you have so far, but don’t try to get everything worked out before connecting with your next referral!