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NETWORKING: The Good, the Bad, the Clumsy

Networking Faux Pas (Microsoft clipart)
Networking Faux Pas (Microsoft clipart)
Microsoft clipart

For many job-seekers, the most uncomfortable aspect of putting together a job search strategy tends to be in the area of talking to people - Networking - to generate job opportunities. For individuals who've been at a company for a number of years who got there by applying, the idea of needing to generate conversations can be intimidating at best.

A client once shared how he wasn't an outgoing person, that he never had to sell himself to get a job, and he was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of finding people "to ask for a job." He ended his discourse by saying that he was worried that he would never get hired.


Networking is not asking for a job

“Is your company hiring?”

“No, sorry, it’s not.”

End of discussion. Can you can see the fruitlessness of approaching conversations from this perspective? This is not Networking.

Networking is not groveling (sucking up)

“Can you get me into your company?”

“Gee, I wish I could, I don’t have that kind of pull.”

“Well, do you think you could put in a good word for me with your boss?”

“Well, uh, sure. If I get the chance I can, uh, do that for you.”

With this approach you have ingratiated yourself to the extent that there is now an expectation or obligation placed on your networking contact. The outcome of this imposition will be the gossip circulating behind your back! This is not Networking.


Avantages of Networking Done Correctly

Because of the number of people out there looking for jobs, the best way to get hired today is by having conversations with strategic connections within targeted companies. The benefits of this strategy are manifold:

  • Helps you uncover opportunities
  • Gets you noticed for positions you’ve identified
  • Enhances your knowledge and credibility
  • Provides you with experience to do better interviews
  • Puts you in less competitive circumstances

In my own experience with job searching, I can attest especially to that last point of less competitive circumstances. What frustrates us in the process of looking for a job is that we are up against a lot of competition. How reassuring it is – by making effective connections outside of the “application process” – to find oneself in a place of minimal rivalry for the job!

With a fresh understanding of the significance of the networking process, my client rebounded. Several months later he landed a position in his field through (what else?) a strategic connection who recommended he apply for the job!

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