If you are job hunting, the idea of networking without a resume may sound crazy. But read on and you’ll never want to bring your resume to another networking meeting again.
Here’s my belief…If you are networking and people are asking you for your resume, you are doing it all wrong! Why?
If you were already employed and asked to meet with someone, would they ask for your resume?
Why Is Networking With a Resume A Bad Idea?
Anytime you present a resume it reeks of
“Hire Me! I am looking for a job”
and puts you in at a disadvantage or you come across as desperate.
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.
Subconsciously, the person you invite to meet 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 upfront how they may benefit from having a conversation with you.
Plus, once they find out you are searching for a job there is sort of an unwritten understanding that they’ll be expected to open their contacts to you, and many people are not comfortable with that. So if you don’t lead with the fact you are job hunting, this fear is initially eliminated.
The First Thing You Need to Do…
Stop saying that you are in transition (or any other fancy term to indicate you are unemployed or actively searching for a new job!)
The majority of job seekers I meet confess their unemployment status within their opening statement.
Now, maybe it is just because I a job search coach and they feel I need to know this information. But my assumption is that if they confess this to me, they are confessing to others.
So, please, it is not critical at this point in the conversation for someone to know you are unemployed.
Instead, focus on your most marketable assets. Here are ideas on how you can introduce your professional side to friends and family. What To Say To Friends and Family While Job Searching.
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 will be “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…
- You can find many more general networking questions to ask here.
For more help switching your mindset and focusing on gathering information read this: Networking is a Waste of Time- Or Is It?
What Information Can You Share?
You have knowledge and experience and you’ve 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 and how that might benefit the person you are meeting with.
Think about the other people you have met with along your networking journey and the stories they have shared with you. Will any of this information be helpful to the person you are meeting with?
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 head off the request for a resume, 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 “