When Networking’s Not Working

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When Networking’s Not Working

Adapted from recruitersconnection.com

You hear it all the time, from friends, from family, from the Career Development Center: “Networking is the best way to find a job.” While this is true in many cases, what do you do if your networking efforts are doing less than promised?

You’ve talked to friends and family, neighbors and past co-workers, but you are not getting any referrals or leads. You’ve passed out résumés at networking events and career fairs, but no interviews have ensued. You know you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results, but you don’t know what to do differently.

Before you can determine what’s not working, you must analyze your current efforts. Do a quick gap analysis by answering these four questions: Where are you now? Where would you like to be? What is your gap? How do you fill the gap?

Next, determine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For example:

Strengths: Relationships with past co-workers; communication skills

Weaknesses: Shy, introverted; don’t know a lot of people

Opportunities: Job fairs, networking events, social events

Threats: No one is hiring; competition with more qualified job seekers

 

So should you change your networking targets?

Family

Family members feel obliged to help you, and you never know what contacts they may have. However, you must put forth the effort to stay in touch with every member of your immediate and extended family.

Professional Associations

Professional associations represent the leaders in any profession and keep members informed as well as well-networked. Check Websites and newsletters for networking opportunities, as many times as they offer guest attendants.

Non-Profit Groups

Hiring authorities often volunteer for various causes and, in some cases, sit on the Board of these groups. Volunteering yourself allows you not only to “pay it forward” but to possibly advance your job search as well.

Friends/Neighbors

Occasionally send out an e-mail message to update your friends and neighbors on your job search. Consumed with their own lives, friends often forget you are still looking for work, so they need to be reminded.

Service or Civic Clubs

Members of service clubs, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, are often business people who are well-connected. Find a way to attend a meeting as a guest and make your own connections.

Place of Worship

Inform your religious leader that you are seeking employment. Members of volunteer committees at places of worship are usually more than willing to help someone else.

Business Functions/Business After Hours

Attend conferences, meetings, and any other type of business event in order to meet people who are connected. Take a chance and ask people about themselves.

Force yourself to be more social

Attend social events and position yourself by the food, restrooms, or exit in order to meet the most people.

Allow enough time for networking

Rapport and trust develop over time. Begin by discussing what is important to the other person. Advance to a more personal level and then to a business contact.

Help others network

Introduce people to others who could possibly benefit. People will be more likely to return the favor.

Show your gratitude

Call or send a thank-you note or card to anyone who helps you build your network.


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