Jobfully Blog

Why Isn’t My Networking Working?

Earlier this week we dug up some stats that prove networking really does work. The numbers prove the majority of jobs are found through connections, not through posted ads.  Yet sometimes a job seeker will say networking just isn’t working.  Here are five quick ways to rethink how networking is supporting your job search.

  1. Revisit your attitude about networking. Networking is not a means to an end. It’s not meant to simply find people jobs. Networking is about mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about professional connection, finding ways to help others and building long term alliances. Enter each networking encounter with a philosophy of long term relationship building.
  2. Be helpful. Find ways within your limits to support and give to your network with no thought about how it will come back to you.  You can’t know what the “payoff” may be and it doesn’t matter. Be sure to offer help to others in a way that jives with your own priorities and don’t spread yourself too thin.
  3. Focus beyond your inner circle. It’s easy to network with relatives and good friends. For some, it’s harder to network with neighbors and colleagues, and even harder to reach out to strangers. But it’s the second and third levels of networking that will help you tap into the hidden job market.  Push yourself to expand to those more challenging levels.
  4. Get off the computer. For some it’s most comfortable to network via email, message boards and list serves. But in person contact is far more memorable. Set goals for attending events, meeting people for coffee or lunch and participating in groups.
  5. Focus on the long term. It’s true, networking often does not show short term payoff. It’s a long term proposition, but one that is proven to pay off.

Stick with networking even when it doesn’t feel fruitful. Continue to refine your approach but do not give up on this vital strategy. The numbers definitely show it IS how people get hired.

One Comment

  1. Posted July 7, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Great suggestions and here are 7 More Networking Tips from a blog post I wrote earlier this year:

    1) Don’t take networking too seriously. It can and should be fun. Connect with the intention of helping others rather than simply expecting to find the elusive perfect job or client. Relax, take the pressure off yourself and focus on what you can bring to the party or offer in the form of contacts, knowledge or resources.

    2) Improve your outlook and your fortune will change. If you have a negative outlook on networking, you’re probably sabotaging your chances at connecting with the “right” people. Put all the negative or disappointing encounters behind you and focus on “what’s possible.” As Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

    3) Take a proactive approach and get off the couch or out from behind your screen and get out there! Remember, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You eventually have to meet people to know if you’ll really connect with them, and the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find the “right” people for you. (It’s almost like dating, isn’t it?)

    4) Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum if you’re at an event where it’s being served. Being relaxed is good, but having your buzz on and then acting inappropriately is not a good way to be memorable at any event. A phrase that comes to mind here is “The more I drink, the cuter you get.” Yikes! Do I really need to say more here?

    5) Be the person to include others into the conversation when they join the circle. What a great way to create a good impression and set an example for others. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

    6) Be polite and considerate. Good manners never go out of style. Leave your ego in the restroom after you’ve checked your appearance (make sure there are no traces of your lunch in your teeth) and also leave the office politics at the office. A networking event is a time to be non-competitive and social in a professional yet friendly way.

    7) Be sincere, open and follow through on your commitments. Authenticity leaves a lasting impression, and even if you don’t find a way to assist each other immediately, you never know when someone might introduce you to a key new contact down the road.

    I cover a lot of this in my book, “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” but wanted to share some of this content here after reading this blog post. Hope all this networking help motivates you to keep developing your networking muscle!

    Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Author
    I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???: A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Any Networking Event
    http://amzn.com/1600051669

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