As I was preparing to talk about the value of building a network to a group of teenagers, I began looking at the concept through their eyes.
In school they have learned to follow rules, stay within the lines, work hard to get good grades, perform well and make varsity. These rules are probably why they have built the resistance to seeing the value of knowing people and developing relationships. Educations don't formally recognize or reward for this.
Being nice to a teacher to get a good grade is deemed as bad or unethical in education. In the world of work, being nice to during an interview or when talking with a manager may be the only way to survive.
In school, it doesn't matter how well you know the teacher. Your performance is evaluated only on how well you test and do the work. In sports, same thing. You are evaluated on how well you perform, period.
No wonder these kids are so ill-prepared to compete for jobs. They don't know the rules are different. They run to the job boards (rule followers). They have been fed logic that if they get good grades, they will be swooped up by hungry employers. Where was the advice that maybe you should learn to develop interpersonal skills: play well with others, communicate well and expand the list of people you know and who know about you?
In a recent UpMo article on networking, they quote an MBA Dean who basically said that MBA students are repulsed by the idea of networking and don't see the value of a class on it. They simply don't get it. (Huge kudos to my blogging mentor Mike Lally. He is quoted in this UpMo piece!)
Why would these MBA students see the value of networking…it has never been something they have been rewarded for. Why would anyone see the value in something that breaks the traditional rules of applying for jobs?
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.