You might not know it, but you network every single day. Whether you’re grabbing coffee with a friend, meeting people at the bar, or inviting someone to connect on LinkedIn, it’s all networking.
Networking isn’t hard, but like anything else, it takes practice in order to do it right - especially if you’re actively looking for a job. If you’re a job seeker, it’s important to know the difference between effective and ineffective networking strategies.
One of the most common mistake job seekers make when networking is simply asking for a job.
It might not sound like it’s the wrong thing to do - heck, it might even sound like the perfect thing to do when you’re looking for work - but it’s not an effective use of your time. While this strategy can result in someone offering you a job, or at the very least, offering to pass along your resume, it’s not something you want to do necessarily. Here’s why…
It can put the other person in an awkward position. Think about it from the other person’s perspective: What if he/she truly doesn’t think you’d be a good fit for the role? His/her reputation could be on the line at the company. Or, what if he/she wouldn’t feel comfortable working with you? This is particularly awkward if you have a close relationship with this person. Would you want to be in that position? Probably not, so avoid putting someone else in it.
It can make you look like a “selfish” networker. If you’re connecting with people and immediately asking for a job, it puts you in a bad light. Successful networkers focus on the mutual benefit of the relationship. Think, how can we help each other versus how can this person help me.
It can result in you losing a connection. If you badger people about job opportunities, knowingly or unknowingly, you risk losing the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build. No one likes to be pestered, especially when they can’t help you or give you what you want.
So, while it’s tempting to take the direct approach and simply ask someone for a job, it’s usually not the best solution. Instead, focus on how you can add value to your network and help each person in it individually. More often than not, they will repay you in some way, shape, or form -- whether that means passing along your resume or introducing you to the hiring manager.
Need more help networking?
Join us in our upcoming webinar “Mastering Your Alumni Network: Part 2: Asking Your Network For Help” on Friday, December 2nd at 12:30pm