Posted by: joha5 | April 12, 2010

Networking Neutrality

I’m really bored of putting together new and different cover letters for jobs.  I know it is a necessary evil and only serves as a means to an end but, at least for today, I am putting my foot down.  Today, I have decided, will be a networking day.  Networking days are kind of fun for me.  They aren’t fun just because I take a break from applying to jobs but they are fun because I get to hunt down all of these potentially fun/nice people who have the jobs that I dream about getting.  When you don’t have a lot to hold on to I actually find that it gets really exciting when you start connecting the dots with people and start making inroads into something tangible.

That is the difference between networking and applying for jobs.  Networking always yields an immediate and tangible result while applications just lead to waiting and hoping and then more waiting.  I have read an unspeakable amount of articles saying that most people actually do find their job’s by networking and I definitely believe this to be true.  The metaphor linked to networking that I have heard most often is that you are supposed to plant many seeds and cultivate them all to grow because you never know which one will grow to be the best.  This is what I do when I network.  

There are three rules that I live by for networking.  First, you must never ask somebody for a job.  It is presumptuous and rude to even assume that somebody who is spending their time talking to you about your own career would do you that extra liberty.  You can hint and you can allude to the fact that you are very interested in working for them or their company to explicitly ask for a job is unacceptable.  Second, always ask for a face to face meeting and include a time frame for it as well.  For example, I usually ask people if they want to grab a coffee for no more than 20 minutes to see if I can get some advice.  Obviously, it doesn’t always work and it doesn’t always stay under 20 minutes but this way you can let people know that your intention’s are genuine and that you can get what you want across in a short amount of time.  Finally, always follow-up with them and thank them.   I haven’t been in many situations where I have been able to help a ton of people in my career yet but I can think of nothing more dissuading to help somebody than if they don’t follow-up with a thank you note or e-mail.  It only takes a few minutes and it says a lot about your character and where your head is at.

So there we have it.  My three big rules for networking.  Since this is today’s big project I had better get started.  If you have any other rules or suggestions then please comment and let me know your trick’s to networking!

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