Everyone who’s not networking — actively developing positive, proactive relationships that can help them achieve their goals in life — has a “reason” that they don’t do it. Here’s a sampling of the excuses that people conjure to avoid networking, and why you have to let them go.
Networking objection #1: All I meet are job seekers
It’s true — networking events are overrun with job seekers. But if anyone is going to understand what you’re going through and be open to supporting you with your search, it’s someone in the same spot.
Often, people spend too much time looking to network with hiring managers. They want to meet people who have jobs, and they tend to ignore the rest. Real, effective networking is about cultivating a wide variety of relationships with people that you respect, and that are willing to help you in meaningful ways. When the relationships are in place, they can identify opportunities you’d never even know about, and help you to take advantage of them.
Just because someone can’t hire you, isn’t in your industry, is down the chain from the jobs that you’re looking for, or in another city doesn’t mean that they’re not a trusted advisor to someone who can hire you. Don’t count them out.
Networking objection #2: It costs too much money
Face-to-face networking luncheons cost money, yes. But that’s not the only way to network.
You can call people you know and ask them to make networking connections for you. You can network online, via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other social media. When it comes time to meet in person, you can pick libraries over coffee shops. It doesn’t have to cost money. Be creative. Show initiative. See what you can do with limited resources — it’s a great business skill.
Networking objection #3: I’m giving first, but no one’s giving back
The message that you need to add value to your networking relationships is a popular one nowadays, and many people are trying to do that. Unfortunately, not everyone went to your Networking Best Practices Breakfast, and so lots of people just look at you funny when you offer help, or accept without even thinking of returning the favor.
Frustrating? Yes. A reason to stop networking? No.
Find groups where solid networking practices avail. Think professional organizations, job search functions with a facilitated networking program, leads groups and more. Evaluate whether the people you’re connecting with are open to helping you.
And before you give up on a networking connection — ask for what you need. Sometimes all it takes is a clear call to action and someone will jump right in to help.
Networking objection #4: I don’t have the time
Here’s what you’re really saying when you say “I don’t have time” — you’re really saying “I’m choosing how I’m currently spending my time over this activity.”
That’s fine, if you’re choosing not to watch The Biggest Loser.
It’s not fine if you’re choosing to prioritize cruising online job boards, internet shopping, finishing that mystery novel that you’re almost finished reading, napping, rearranging your cupboards, or any other activity over the single most effective method for your job search.
Yes, that’s right. If you’re not networking because you “don’t have the time” you’re saying that all those things that you’re doing that aren’t getting you a job are more important than actually getting a job.
Networking is too important and too effective to be left for last on your priority list. Move it up a notch or two, and choose to leverage others as part of your job search team.
Networking objection #5: I don’t really need to network
Yes, you’re smart. Successful. Fantastic. But if a resume falls in the woods and no one knows you exist to read it, do you get the job?
All hiring is done by people, at least in this decade. So don’t rule out the human factor in the process. By getting to these decision makers — regardless of the stage of the recruiting process — you make a positive impact that can get you a little extra attention, maybe enough to push you to the top of the “must call” pile.
If nothing else, we’re social creatures. We like connecting with people. Do it for the fun of it.
What’s holding you back from successful networking?