On Friday’s I share my answers to job seeker questions! This one is about what to do when networking isn’t working (the way you want it to)!
Job Seeker Question
I just wanted to get an opinion, because so far my efforts at networking are not working well.
I started with a list of a few people I was already connected to and several former co-workers I could reach out to. The latter group I sent out several connect invitations, and only one accepted. With that person and those I was already connected with, I checked their LinkedIn connections for people I believed could aid me, and asked them if they would facilitate a connection between us. Out of those, I got two “Just contact them directly” replies, and dead silence from the rest.
The two people locally who I feel would be of the greatest help to me have their own secretaries, who both essentially told me, “we have no open jobs–bug off.”
This is really what I was afraid of when it comes to networking.
First, congratulations on making a list of people you know and past co-workers!
Second, don’t jump to assumptions here. It may be that the people you asked to connect with on LinkedIn don’t use it very well or often. You may want to try emailing them or pick up the phone instead.
The fact that some people have told you to contact people in their network directly is good! Remember, the people you know are busy and an introduction requires they do work. The other thing to note is that they may have not spoken to the person you want to connect with in awhile so it may be equally awkward for them to reach out to intro you.
If the secretaries are telling you there aren’t any jobs, approach them differently and change what you are saying…Please tell me you don’t open the conversation with “I want to speak to so and so about job openings…” Here are a couple of articles I wrote that might help:
Networking Equals Relationships
Your emphasis while networking should be on finding people inside target companies. The more people you talk to, inside companies that could potentially hire you, the better! And when you use company names, it makes it easier for people help you. (Especially those who wouldn’t know what companies would hire someone with your unique background.)
The fact that your field is very specialized makes it a bit more difficult, I understand that. Have you checked out professional associations and conferences related to your field? Have you joined groups on LinkedIn that focus on your expertise? Look for opportunities to “hang around” people who understand what you do.
It’s not that your networking isn’t working. It’s that you feel it should be moving faster.
Finally, if you don’t believe networking will work, then it won’t! Your attitude determines your success.
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Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.