How NOT to network in 2011

1 01 2011

Since so many people have “I will do more networking this year” on their New Year’s resolutions lists, I had to share this:

Here is an example of something I categorize as “leveraging the useless.” I’m also including my explanation of why this type of communication is useless to the sender as well as the receiver. The names have been changed to protect the innocent clueless.Clueless Networking

This message came from someone I’ve never met, referencing someone I barely know, and requesting an intro to someone fairly close to me, as well as someone I protect from inquiries just like this (as she does for me).  This message came into my LinkedIn messages Inbox.

On 11/28/10 3:49 PM, David Paul wrote:
——————–
Sandy,

I just had coffee with Wayne Lunky today as a followup from a seminar he did at his church on job search tips.

He highly recommended your book – ‘I’m at a Networking Event – Now What???’ to me.

I was wondering if you could introduce me to Mary Lorenzo at Expedia so I could learn more about the ‘Business Development’ opportunities they have.

Thank you for your help,

David Paul

——————–

That’s it?! Oh, sure. Let’s imagine what he thinks I should do on his behalf:

Call or email my contact and say, “Hey Mary, I don’t know this person, I barely know the person he referenced, but he apparently wants me to ask you to make time to talk to him about whatever opportunities might exist at your company in an area you have nothing to do with. Is it OK if I give him all your contact info? Oh, and since he’s acquainted with the guy I barely know via something at his church, he must be OK and totally worthy of your referring him into your company for a job and associating yourself with him.”

REALLY?! What I want to know is who is advising people to “network” this way? (He certainly did NOT read MY book!) There are so many things wrong with this I’ll get a headache if I have to go through them, so I’ll just go with the most basic:

The definition of the word “network” according to The Oxford Dictionary is:

nétwerk n. & v. a group of people who exchange information, contacts, and experience for professional or social purposes.

We can then define networking as one’s efforts to create a group, and the key word in the above definition is EXCHANGE.

So, if you’re doing the “ask,” and there’s not even an attempt to at least offer an exchange of some type of future assistance, it’s definitely best to find another way to get to a very distant connection’s contact.

Please feel free to share this post wherever you think it might be seen by people who need this basic business savvy info. Thank you!

Additional note: Even The Onion has something to say about what they refer to as “nonconcensual networking.” CLICK HERE for a chuckle.
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Engage Online and Off

23 08 2010

Keeping up with the rise of social media, both personally as well as professionally, has clearly created stress for some people, but for many of us it has created loads of new consulting and job opportunities that never even existed before.

For example, a whole new category of jobs under the umbrella of social media has started to appear on most of the job boards out there

Social Media salaries on simplyhired

simplyhired's social media salaries page

and thanks to Mashable I found a timely post that describes ways to find employment and then shine as a Social Community Manager. I’m sharing it here because a favorite topic and activity of mine is encouraged in one of the 10 tips:

8. Engage Online and Off


Though online community is important, connecting with people in-person will help strengthen the relationships you build, Zack from Howcast said. Go to the places where community managers come to exchange ideas and network. “Don’t discount the real-life community,” she said. “Find your tweetups and where people with your interests are meeting in real life.”

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Learning to Love LinkedIn Tip #3

28 04 2010

LinkedIn is a great tool for doing follow up after meeting someone at an event, for coffee or when you’ve exchanged business cards after a long flight back from the east coast. I often send LinkedIn invites as my follow up, and then use it to keep in touch and up-to-date with what is happening with the person I’ve taken some time to get to know.

If you decide to use LinkedIn for this purpose as well, make sure that you are more than occasionally updating your status, while also checking your connections’ status updates, links, blogs, announcements, reading lists or whatever else they have shared there.

Try to interact with others when it’s relevant and sincere, and use it as a way to send support, congrats, resources, news or info you think they might truly find useful. And, whatever you do, don’t use it to try to “leverage the useless.” (More on that in my next book!)

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Networking help – it’s everywhere!

9 02 2010

I keep coming across great content on effective connecting/networking out there, and since I have some serious Valentine’s Day spirit already I thought I’d spread some linking love around. Enjoy and please share the love with people you know that could use some networking food for thought!

Learn from Kalpesh’s mistakes.

The Art of Networking (Not Just) For College Grads.

A blog post for SPU students.

Networking Tips for 2010.

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How do recruiters find you?

29 01 2010

How do recruiters find you?How do recruiters find you? They find you by networking with you.

I thought I’d share this list of responsibilities from a job description for a recruiter because anyone looking for work needs to know HOW recruiters “source” talent. I also decoded the acronyms or references that I thought might stump some of you:

– Identifying, networking and maintaining relationships with key candidates and candidate communities for long-term opportunities.
– Uncovering and nurturing talent in traditional and hard to reach forums (i.e. job boards, blogs, alumni groups, conference attendee lists, personal home pages.etc).
– Tracking and cataloging candidate development activity and their movement within the industry.
– Tracking candidate resource availability.
– Develop and implement CRM (Candidate Resource Management) activities utilizing an ATS (applicant tracking system).
– Identifying, posting and managing roles on niche job boards, industry groups, blogs, SIGS (special interest groups)/LIGS (local interest groups) and social networks.
– Conducting pre-screening interviews. (info interviews)
– Providing continuous research of potential candidates through a wide variety of sourcing channels (including LinkedIn).
– Contacting qualified leads to discuss their career aspirations and assess potential fit for the company.
– Filling the pipeline with pre-screened and/or pre-qualified candidates.

Clearly, it pays to network and cultivate relationships with recruiters!

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7 Savvy Networking Tips for 2010

25 01 2010

7 Savvy Networking Tips for 2010:

1) Don’t take networking too seriously. It can and should be fun. Connect with the intention of helping others rather than simply expecting to find the elusive perfect job or client. Relax, take the pressure off yourself and focus on what you can bring to the party or offer in the form of contacts, knowledge or resources.

2) Improve your outlook and your fortune will change. If you have a negative outlook on networking, you’re probably sabotaging your chances at connecting with the “right” people. Put all the negative or disappointing encounters behind you and focus on “what’s possible.” As Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

3) Take a proactive approach and get off the couch or out from behind your screen and get out there! Remember, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You eventually have to meet people to know if you’ll really connect with them, and the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find the “right” people for you. (It’s almost like dating, isn’t it?)

4) Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum if you’re at an event where it’s being served. Being relaxed is good, but having your buzz on and then acting inappropriately is not a good way to be memorable at any event. A phrase that comes to mind here is “The more I drink, the cuter you get.” Yikes! Do I really need to say more here?

5) Be the person to include others into the conversation when they join the circle. What a great way to create a good impression and set an example for others. As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

6) Be polite and considerate. Good manners never go out of style. Leave your ego in the restroom after you’ve checked your appearance (make sure there are no traces of your lunch in your teeth) and also leave the office politics at the office. A networking event is a time to be non-competitive and social in a professional yet friendly way.

7) Be sincere, open and follow through on your commitments.  Authenticity leaves a lasting impression, and even if you don’t find a way to assist each other immediately, you never know when someone might introduce you to a key new contact down the road.

I cover a lot of this in my book, but wanted to share some of this content here and before I attend a few networking events myself this week. Can’t hurt and might help!

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Not so secret Santas

23 12 2009

I must have been a very good girl this year because Santa definitely came early! Not so secret SantasI knew I needed to show my gratitude by sharing these awesome book reviews (and links) for my book “I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???” from this past week:

Matt’s review on his Career Horizons blog.

Randy’s review on his Hire Ground blog.

Who knew I’d have 2 not-so-secret Santas this year?! 🙂

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