If you are job searching, it may sound sort of dangerous to network without a resume. But let me propose this- If you are networking and people are asking you for your resume, you are doing it all wrong!
If you were already employed and asked to meet with someone, would they ask for your resume? No.
Why Is Networking With a Resume A Bad Idea?
Any time you present a resume it reeks of “Hire Me! I am looking for a job” and puts you in a position of disadvantage. Networking should be about gathering and sharing mutually beneficial information. Furthermore, you are much more likely to be granted a networking meeting if the person feels like they have something to gain from the conversation. When they know you are job searching, there is sort of a unwritten understanding that they be expected to open their contacts to you, and many people are not comfortable with that. Plus, subconsciously, the person is probably thinking, “How will I benefit from this conversation?” It is up to you to make sure you address their needs as much as your own, so tell them up front how they may benefit.
The First Thing You Need to Do…
Stop saying that you are in transition (or any other fancy term to indicate you are unemployed!) The majority of job seekers I meet confess their unemployment status within their opening statement. Now, maybe it is just because I am hyper-sensitive to this or maybe it is because I am a job search coach and they feel the need for me to know this. Either way, my assumption is that if they confess this to me, they are confessing to others.
You Are Networking To Acquire Information
Believe it or not, some people network all the time, even while employed. Having conversations with people outside of your company enables you to stay up on industry trends and perhaps learn about some of the projects they are working on. You are “talking shop.” Think about the information (no, not job postings) you are looking for. What questions do you want answered and personal insight is important!
- Do you ever feel like you have too much on your plate? I struggle with this too. How do you handle it?
- Have you tried implementing new processes or procedures recently? How did that work for you and your team?
- Why do you think …
- What are you seeing…
What Information Can You Share?
You have opinions and have learned some lessons along the way. Can you listen for opportunities to interject your thoughts? Better yet, carefully plant questions that will give you the opportunity to share your ideas. Think about the failures and successes your past companies have experienced. Think about the other people you have met with along your networking journey and the stories they have shared with you. Tactfully share what you can to help others. You will be viewed as a conduit of information, a connector, an informed professional, and valuable. No resume required.
Just In Case…
To provide someone with a your background and head off the request for a resume (doubtful this will happen if you aren’t telling people you are job seeking), be sure you include a link to your LinkedIn profile when you reach out to someone and request a meeting. You may choose to put it in the confirmation email instead of your initial outreach depending on how well you know the person. You could say, “Just in case, I have included a link to my LinkedIn profile here: “