Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with two colleagues - one who came in from out of town this past weekend, the other a more local colleague. Central to both conversations was the whole concept of professional networking. It got me to thinking that, in talking with many people (including the "experts").....we do so much that's wrong when we network, especially when we're seeking jobs.
For example, the classic guy who may express strongly (from either slight disgust to overt complaining) about their lack of success. It's easy to say "nobody likes a downer", but it's a little bit more complicated than that. If I'm trying to convince someone to hire me, does it work for me to bemoan my fate....or to discuss how I might solve a potential employer's problems? If I'm venting on social media (which is searchable), and someone sees a dichotomy between what I say in public and what I say online....am I shooting myself in the foot? It's a challenge for me to network and not come across in a negative light.
It's also challenging with so many possible networking events - so many that many of my peers are engaging me in all of my social media channels with the same message. Social media is less a broadcasting medium and more a communications medium - when it comes for me to reach people, I always try to find the best channel (i.e., the one they're most engaged on) and contact them that way. If I'm flooding social media with nothing but "hire me!" messages....I'm not doing it right.
I've also been asked why, if I'm looking for a non-profit social media position, why do I do business networking events? Ideally, I do a mix of both - finding organizations where people who may hire me are meeting (as per a previous post), and doing some general and specific "networking events". Many of my fellow job stalkers pay a premium for attending large scale events, but quite honestly, limiting myself to one "field" seems rather foolish. (Especially since leads can often come from various sources, including "weaker" ties). Admittedly, I have to take an inventory and see which events are working for me and which don't....but too many of my colleagues are professional networkers, choosing to "be seen" rather than "be seen by someone who might be likely to hire them."
We've all been networking wrong - myself included. So let's consider this our first, best stand for "networking sanity".
If you're so inclined, and feel that doing so is worthwhile to you, please feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn (just send me a note informing me that you're connecting via Job Stalker). In addition, you can get links to some of my other online writings and activities via http://www.gordondymowski.com
As always, thanks for reading!