Scared to network
April 6th, 2009
In this job market, everyone knows that networking is the best way to get a job. But many really hate the idea of networking. In fact, they’re scared to network.
Here are a few tips to overcome your fears and have the correct expectations about networking:
1. The worst thing that can happen is to be told “Sorry I don’t have time and can’t help you.”
2. The second worst thing is to not get a response.
3. Don’t expect everyone to respond.
4. Don’t expect a speedy response. Everyone is busy. Try following up with a phone call. Offer dates and times when you are in town and/or are available. Tell them “I’ll be in town all day on [name the date]” before any meetings have been set.
5. Don’t expect a job opening.
6. Offer something of value. For example, relevant research or academic/professional work that you’ve done OR an update on any shared affinity for which you have current and/or insider information (like your b-school, college, sports team).
7. Ask for others that they’d recommend you talk to.
8. Go to conferences. Many conferences need volunteers in exchange for manning the registration table (where you can meet all the attendees).
9. Thank them. Set a follow up date and offer information based on your conversation. Then actually follow up on your commitment. (The few who actually do this are most remembered and most likely to be helped in the future).
As an unknown author said, “You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.” Get networking.