Tag Archives: contacts

Don’t be an ungrateful networker

cheesecake

And I’ll take a slice of cheesecake.

Marble or Godiva Chocolate, please. This is what I usually tell jobseekers when they tell me a job is on the horizon and that I’ve been a great help to them.

Maybe they learned some tips in one of my workshops. I might have offered them encouragement and listen to them when others wouldn’t. Or I critiqued their résumé or LinkedIn profile and told them how to revise them for total impact. For some I made a telephone call to one of my contacts and landed them an interview.

Jobseekers who are in the midst of finding work tend to be very gracious and, perhaps, give me more credit than I deserve. But if they want to show their gratitude, I jokingly tell them I’ll take a slice of cheesecake if they get a job. So far a handful of people owe me that slice, but I’m not going to hound them for it. I’m not even writing  to give them a subtle reminder.

Years ago I read a great article from a guy named John Touey of the Salva Stetson Group, which is still relevant. Don’t Be “That Guy.” is a wonderful reminder that a good networker is someone who stays in contact with you after you’ve helped them in their job search.

John talks about a certain fella who benefited from his assistance three times in his job search. After every job he got this guy didn’t send so much as a thank you card, or simply call to say, “Thanks.” Personally, I would be pissed if someone were that insensitive after all the help I’d given him. John, you’re too kind.

I’m not serious about getting my cheesecake. This article just got me thinking that it is true; as a networker you have to express your appreciation for the help you’ve received. People don’t like to be called only when you need their help. It ain’t good networking etiquette.

John writes, “That guy only reaches out when he’s lost his job. He’s eager to meet; he’s looking for referrals; he wants your knowledge of the market. He also seems to forget you exist the moment he finds his next job.”

I’ve known a select few who harbor the selfishness of which John speaks. They’re the guys, or gals, who are quick to criticize when I’m doing my best to lead a stimulation workshop, give them tips on their job search, or do a thorough résumé critique. You just can’t please them.

I hear you, John. You and I are alike in that all we want is a sign of appreciation. I only joke when I tell my jobseekers I can’t accept money but will take a slice of cheesecake.

Who the hell am I kidding? I want my cheesecake. Preferably from the Cheesecake Factory and definitely Marble or Godiva Chocolate.

If you’ve received help from someone during your job search, at least send them a thank you card. I’ve received them and felt a warmth that makes all my efforts, large or small, all worth it. The message John is sending should be heeded by all jobseekers. Thanks all around.

Job Search Tip #7: Creating your contact list and start networking

The last tip looked at writing your accomplishment list. Today we’ll address creating your networking list of people who may help you find your next job.

By now you know that the best way to find work is by networking. Statistics from the Department of Labor show that networking accounts for at least 60% of your success, if used alone. Throw in online networking and you increase your chances of success.

The question is not if networking will help you in your job search; it’s with whom do you network? A simple answer is, everyone.

Here are the steps to take in developing your contact list and, just as importantly, following up with your contacts.

Make a list of the people with whom you worked or attended school. Don’t limit yourself to your most recent position; go back as far as 10 to 15 years. Also consider vendors and partners you may have done business with, or professors and teaching assistants you studied under.

Don’t forget the little guy. You may think that your managers, VPs, or directors are your best bet, but often times they are too busy to help. It’s usually your colleagues and people a level or two below you who have the time to spare and, quite honestly, care the most.

Consider everyone. Do you remember the mother of your daughter’s soccer teammate? The one who works at Raytheon? She might know of an accountant position in the works or that someone in marketing is on the outs. How about your convenience store owner who listens to his customers complain about not being able to fine good managers with business acumen? These people, along with family members, relatives, your plumber, and others can be a great source of networking.

These people are called superficial connections and often provide the leads necessary to get an interview. Too many people tell me they are only networking with past colleagues and supervisors, but it’s natural networking that may grant you success.

Develop new contacts by attending local networking events. This will take getting outside your comfort zone, but to bring new people into your fold; you’ll need to expand your reach. The best people to be around are people who are currently employed and own their own business. Local business networking events and chamber of commerce meet-ups are ideal for networking with people who are aware of the goings-on in the labor market.

Once you’ve made contact it’s important to follow-up with your new connections. A timely phone call placed to inquire about your contact’s daughter’s soccer game is a nice touch and will keep your name fresh in her mind. There is no harm in mentioning your employment status, but don’t inquire about any job openings at her company. “Do you know of anyone I should contact?” is a fair question, but don’t put on the pressure—it’s a sure way to lose a contact.

The secret behind online networking is to reach out to people who can be mutually helpful and then make personal contact with them. Many people feel that virtual communications will suffice in the networking arena. This is a mistake. People don’t get to know you unless they hear your voice or meet you in person. Agreeing to meet for coffee or at a contact’s office shows commitment on your part. Get outside your comfort zone.

Next Friday we’ll look at making your company list.