Many job seekers know they should network. A few will tell you they don’t have a network. Others will say they tried but it didn’t work.
Why networking can fail
You were given the wrong definition of networking. You equate it with passing out business cards at a meeting and hoping you will get job proposals out of it. Or you pile up connections on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and think more is better.
Job search networking is not instantaneous.
You expect instantaneous results. Networking is a process. You could consider it an investment. To reap benefits from networking, you have to invest time in the person you are wanting to network with.
You have not practicing giving back. You wrongly took the role of “taker” all of the time and your network knows it. They run away when you come calling.
You haven’t invested time in truly understanding your network. To be able to be effective in job search networking, whether with a business or a person, you have to understand their needs.
Your referrals are off target. Most businesses appreciate word-of-mouth referrals but you need to know what the product is before you share with others.
- For example, one of the new members of my Christian Business Leaders group is Todd Butler of The Tree Fellas. I knew his company had taken down trees on my street when it was under construction and so I asked if they also planted them. They don’t offer that service. But I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t ask. Giving a referral without knowing what they do would have not been a good networking process.
If one or more of these issues sounds familiar, the good news is that you can fix it. Read back through the above points. Each of them should suggest to you ways to do it right. Your network can been your best friend throughout your life not just in job search.
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