The Power of Networking
Posted by David
ResumeBear has a terrific article on networking. I’ve placed the link below, but I also wanted give my own perspective of networking based my experiences as a 24-year-old college graduate:
Talking Your Way to a Job, Proper Networking (blog.resumebear.com)
I often get frustrated when I send out my résumés and cover letters because I know that I am not a piece of paper. I’m a person, and a list of my experiences and achievements doesn’t get to the bottom of who I am. Neither does a stiff, formal interview. The only way to really know me is to interact with me personally – not just for 15 or 30 minutes, but for months or even years.
Obviously, employers aren’t able to spend that much time with applicants before hiring them. But the people who know me best can provide employers with their knowledge of me. If were an employer, I’d feel more comfortable hiring someone who was personally recommended to me, as opposed to someone I read about on a piece of paper.
We can all benefit in some way from the people we know. I found my most recent job because my friend’s girlfriend was employed there; I also made a contact with my mother’s co-worker’s husband based on our mutual interest in filmmaking. So networking isn’t just about the people you already know (like your friend or your mother), but also the people they can introduce you to.
The Internet is another way to make connections. I’ve made contacts through Craigslist, Meetup.com, and e-mail listservs. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have made it easy not only to connect with people, but to see their connections and connect with those people. (But you also have to be wary of who you meet on the Internet and what information you give them.)
What I don’t like about the Internet is that it’s too impersonal. It’s easy to forget people when you only know them as a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower. For me, face-to-face interactions always create the strongest, most lasting impressions because I know get to know my contact as a person, and not as a series of tweets, wall posts, or e-mails.
College is a great opportunity to make personal connections because you’re around so many people with such a variety of social and academic backgrounds. I’d encourage twenty-somethings who are still in college to make as many connections as they can, with both students and faculty, and to continue those relationships after they graduate.
Above all, networking is relationships, and relationships can be difficult to maintain. The Internet makes it easier than ever before to connect with people, but relationships don’t just come about by connecting with another person; you also need that person to connect with you. And they might not connect with you as frequently as you’d like, especially if they’re high up the career ladder.
Be patient with your contacts. Give them more time than you think is necessary to respond, and don’t think that you’ll get a reply faster by flooding their inbox or voicemail—that may actually make them more likely to ignore you (and to get a restraining order). And always keep your cool: act on your anger in the heat of the moment, and you could lose a valuable connection for the rest of your life.
If you get really frustrated with someone you’re trying to network with, forget about them and find different people. Your success doesn’t depend on one person, and it would be a better use of your time to find new contacts than to keep at a relationship that doesn’t work.