Many job seekers become frustrated when they feel like their networking “isn’t working.” They have attended face-t-face networking events, made notes on the backs of business cards, done the appropriate follow-ups, arranged many coffee meetings and pounded social media until their fingers bleed. Yet the opportunities aren’t flowing. From my experience, the problem is that they are typically spending way too much time growing the number of contacts they have, and not enough time cultivating their network. The fix? Make the best use of your strongest existing support system: your friends and family. Not related to the Rockefellers? Don’t worry.
When job or internship searching, do you spend most of your time looking for openings on job boards? Sending off dozens of applications? That’s so 2004! No one does the job board thing anymore! All the cool kids are using their network to get referrals for jobs that aren’t on job boards, and the coolest of the cool kids don’t just stop with people they know — they reach out and network with recruiters. But hold on, Tiger. Don’t go firing off emails to every recruiter you come across. You have to find the right kind of recruiter for you.
Regardless of how much emphasis there is on the importance of networking, people tend to overlook its value. Especially when you’re not looking for a job or you’ve landed a job out of pure luck, you may think networking isn’t worth your time. Well, here’s a reality check for you: Networking is the only way you’ll advance your career.
Building a personal brand that resonates with employers and customers is hard. While in or just out of school, it can often seem impossible. So our friends at YEC asked some of their members this question:
“What’s advice would you give a young careerist or entrepreneur who wants to build a network but is having trouble being taken seriously?”
I tend to give all networkers, even the “master” networkers, the benefit the doubt. Over time, though, I’ve identified four traits of people who are least likely to be a useful connection.
When you encounter any one of these traits, it’s time to move on to someone else in your network…