Follow Networking Etiquette for Best Results

Sarah writes:
I know I need to step up my networking efforts in my job search but I’m afraid of making the wrong move an offending people. Can you offer some basic networking guidelines?

The Career Doctor responds:
Absolutely. Networking is largely a matter of common sense and common courtesy. Here are five things to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t ask your network contacts for a job instead of asking them for advice and referrals. No one wants to be put on the spot and asked for a job but most people are flattered to be asked for advice.
  2. Do thank your network contacts. Always thank your contacts for even the smallest thing they do to help you. An e-mail is fine but handwritten notes are even nicer and for really helpful people consider something special like flowers or a lunch invitation.
  3. Don’t forget that networking should be for MUTUAL benefit. Think about helping and supporting your contacts as much as possible. Give them referrals send them helpful articles let them know if they hear of appropriate job openings.
  4. Don’t spend all your time networking online through sites like Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn at the expense of the far more effective face-to-face networking. Social media is important for establishing an online presence but face-to-face is much more likely to result in a job.
  5. Do know your purpose for networking. It sounds obvious but job seekers waste their contacts’ time when they don’t really know what they want to do where they want to work or how the contact might be helpful to them.
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