Posted on November 6, 2015
Networking 101 – don’ts (3/3)!
1 – Don’t try and hard sell people. In social situations, you want to keep the conversation casual. Contrary to 80s networking wisdom, it’s not the time to beat people over the head with your amazing skillset. Considering most of the people you will be targeting are family, friends, or people one or two degrees of separation from you, you don’t need to staple your head to your resume and have a hardcore spiel. Don’t be like the USB key guy from the first post in this series! Keep the conversation casual and make sure you are letting them speak, too.
2 – Don’t bother with networking events. I have a ladies cocktail club where I was lucky enough to meet one future boss but I joined that because I enjoyed the group, not because I was looking for work. I know there are different casual meet-and-greets around the city for people in my field of work but as a parent, I can’t justify the time suck on a “maybe,” especially since most of those people are all looking for jobs, too. The people who have jobs usually stay home and potential employers rarely use this method to hire.
3 – Don’t post to unrelated social media groups. Don’t tweet at a company unless they are super small and have indicated they are looking to hire. The social media person running that account won’t be able to hire you 99% of the time, especially with large organizations. With facebook groups nothing says amateur quicker than people posting to unrelated groups begging for work. Your neighbourhood facebook group is definitely not the place to troll for work and will only serve to make your neighbours angry.
4 – Once someone has indicated you can contact them, don’t over do it! Sometimes people offer to take your resume to be nice, or maybe to get you off their back at parties (let’s hope not!). Unless you are in talks for an actual position that is perfect for your skillset and the hiring manager has indicated they would like to discuss the position further, don’t contact them every week. If it’s a generic, “yeah, I’ll take your resume,” it means they will keep you in mind if anything comes up, it’s not an invitation to harass them until they find you a job.
5 – Don’t get lazy, use your manners. Keep your resume & LinkedIn profile up-to-date, make sure your references have all agreed to speak on your behalf, and make sure you call them to give them a heads up when someone will be calling for references. When you work many part-time jobs or contracts, your references will often be contacted more often than someone who just sticks with one full-time job. Respect their time by making sure they have adequate notice and remember to thank them when you use them as references. Being organized and having good manners are the cornerstones of making part-time work, work.
There are a lot more things I could give specific advice on, including what has worked and not worked for me but this is a good primer series. Remember that networking is just your outward face to the world and not some persona you have to wear. People will hire you for more for you being easy to get along with more than they will a perfect resume. Having both helps, of course but any sign that you may be more irritating than helpful can be a detriment. It’s one thing to be confident and assertive but that can often cross the line into aggressive and irritating. Promote, don’t gloat!
Hope this series has helped you and if you have any questions or anything to add, please email me or leave a comment!