Why “Networking Doesn’t Work”

Apr 17 2008 in Uncategorized by Phil Rosenberg

Handshake - Creative CommonsIf you keep your eyes open, you’ll never stop being amazed.

Jason Alba of JibberJobber quoted stats generated by JobBait (a resume mass mailing company) claiming (tongue-in-cheek) that “Networking Doesn’t Work”. But Mark Hovind’s (JobBait’s president) numbers also claimed that mass mailing 3,500 pieces of junk mail works 85% of the time for executive and managerial jobs. Maybe these stats were from the good-old 1970’s.

It made me laugh, because the statement is just so blatantly wrong. Networking is a very effective way for subject matter experts to find the best jobs – that goes for face-to-face and online networking.

Of course networking doesn’t work if a job seeker under utilizes networking opportunities.

At their well attended event last night in Chicago, I asked the three founders of Networking for a Cause, Mark Carter, Becky Brett, and Justin Roy how people misuse networking opportunities.

Networking Coach, Founder and CRO Mark Carter offered “Networking is connecting others who will help you also; not just trying to sell everyone you meet.”

Justin added “Often, people blow it by being too selfish and self serving in their introduction.”

Becky commented “People self destruct during networking when they focus too much on themselves and not enough on the other person. How many times do we have to say, ‘it’s not about you! It’s about what the other person needs.’ ”

Networking isn’t just gathering business cards. Networking isn’t passing out resumes or asking everyone in the room or in your LinkedIN network for job leads. Because that isn’t networking, nor is it effective.

Effective networking is helping others…first. Because a pile of business cards won’t help you much. Personal fans will.

Networking for a Cause’s event invitation suggested that attendees ask other networkers what TWO things (or people) they need in the next 30-60 days. These could be connections, resources, information that are relevant to achieving a solid result soon. What are two problems are they facing? Who can help solve them?

Great advice! An effective networking contact for me, is someone with a problem that I can solve, or recommend someone to solve. If I’ve provided value first, without asking for anything in return, I’ve recruited a personal fan.

Personal fans help, because you’ve established a relationship with a personal fan. A personal fan wants to help, and depending what help you first provided…may even feel that they “owe” you.

Sending your resume or a letter to a LinkedIN database, passing it out at a networking event, or snail mailing it to 3,500 people is just junk mail.


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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