It’s easy to make excuses for not networking. A lot of people just don’t like doing it or don’t know how easy it really is.
I know how uncomfortable networking can be.
As I think back on all the excuses for not networking I’ve made (and heard), I thought I should share so they can be debunked!
1. I don’t know anyone
Yes you do! You can network with anyone- friends, past co-workers or any of these 10 types of people. Just reach out to the people you know and ask how they are doing and what’s new. That’s all networking is. You do not need to ask for anything. Just reach out and see what happens.
2. I have run out of people to talk to
If this happens, I’m sorry, but you haven’t been networking the right way. Either the people you’ve met with should have wanted to provide you with additional names of people they know OR you should have asked for recommendations of people to speak with.
3. I am too shy
This is a wonderful opportunity to develop your extroverted side. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, but this really isn’t an excuse. Learn from others and watch what expert networkers do. You can even ask them for help.
4. I don’t know what to talk about
You simply need to ask questions about the other person. Focus on learning about them and what they do. Here are some broad questions that might help.
5. People keep turning me down for informational interviews
First, don’t call them informational interviews! This is not an interview, it is a meeting.
The word interview reeks of “hire me, I am looking for a job.” Sure, it is just a matter of semantics, but if it looks and smells like a pig, it IS a pig.
The other thing you can do is to re-write the script of what you ask for in these meetings. There are very few people who will turn down a request for help.
Is it your wording? Is it your delivery? Ask a friend to critique your invitation.
Are you calling on the phone or emailing? Use the phone please!
6. It hasn’t worked for me in the past
How long did you try it for? Were you expecting immediate results- perhaps a job offer on the spot? This process of networking takes time. Trust builds over time.
That is why it is so important to continue these healthy networking practices even after you get a job. You never know when or where the next lead will come from.
And don’t pre-judge people or opportunities to connect. Follow up on EVERY SINGLE ONE. You never know. This is perhaps where people get fed up and quit. It takes time and effort.
7. I don’t have money for coffee and gas
You need to allocate some money to your budget for networking. Seriously, set money aside for coffee, gas and one paid professional association networking group meeting.
Take it from your entertainment/dining out budget. If you’ve already reallocated those funds, what can you sell?
Be smart in how and when you schedule your meetings. Perhaps you can schedule two meetings back to back to decrease driving around town.
8. _____________________ (Insert your excuse here)
What other excuses for not networking do you make? You can’t overcome it if you don’t name it.
We all are challenged to step outside our comfort zone and do new things. It takes practice to perfect some of these new skills. Don’t get discouraged.
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.