The Lousy Networking Advice of Others – Top 5 Tips to Ignore

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So back to all the holiday parties and networking events you’ll be attending this season. While lots of people have their own do’s and don’ts – here are what I think are surefire ways to make networking events a waste of time by following the type of advice they offer in Yahoo! Home Page articles. More on considerate networking in my article Hi, Nice to Meet You. Me, Me Me, Me, MeMeMe… at: http://wp.me/pWfpN-2M

1. Ask for a Reference

At networking events, some suggest asking people you respect and have had positive working relationships with ‘for a reference ‘, hoping they’ll get the hint that you’re on the market. They imply that this is less awkward than asking for help with a job search.

I think this may backfire as that people aren’t generally so forthcoming with helping others, and will mistakenly assume you have opportunities already if you need references, as that no one checks them early in the hiring game.

2. Use Elevator Speeches in Conversations, A.K.A. “30 Seconds of Bragging” 

I think they’re great ideas in general, to present subtlety in conversations at interviews. But in social, networking environments? You sound like a used car salesman, but even sadder is that you’re selling yourself. I was recently at a networking event, having a lovely conversation with someone, and then he started ‘accomplishment dropping’. I don’t know why he was compelled to give me his pitch, I started spacing, looking for other people to talk to, before I had to hear more. Did you know I’ve improved recruiting for my for my company despite a five million dollar recruiting budget cut?

 3. Offer Unsolicited Advice

No one likes to hear what they could improve or are doing wrong in life. Calling people on their “stuff” doesn’t help you make friends faster. Some take it more gratefully than others, but generally if you’re trying to get someone to help you (i.e. find a job, buy your product, etc.) complimenting them is a better approach.

At a family event, someone complained greatly about their employment situation. I suggested they try reading my blog for advice, as that hey, it’s there for that reason. The person volunteered to me that they think my blog is too negative. That I ought to have a more positive tone, and be more encouraging.

While this person meant well, all I could think was, hey, I’m offering to help you, and why don’t you write a preachy blog? See how many readers you get?

But instead I was a good girl and kept my mouth shut, and I was humbly reminded that this is why I don’t write touchy-feely self help books and stick to my ever-so-snarky blog.

 4. Hand Your Card to Everyone Who Will Take It

It’s like the people who stand on street corners handing out menus or the fliers for the shady ‘suit sale’ a few blocks over.

No one wants to take it, and if they do, they’ll be looking for the nearest garbage to toss it into and be bothered. Few will say, hey, thanks for YOU! Unless it’s a promotional item with your info. If you’re handing them a pen with your info, they might just happily pocket it and look at it again later

5. Politely Blend In & Be Quiet

No one likes the loudest person in a room, but no one notices the quietest one either.

Wear a black suit, white shirt, black shoes, bland accessories, black and white business card, and you’re guaranteed to stand out as much as a penguin in a group on penguins…which one were you again? Especially if you’re on the quieter side, now’s the time to practice speaking about your assets and let your own style stand out. Be confident and assertive in starting conversations with those who you feel you may have a potential association with. 

Throw on a brightly colored accessory, men, that’s your tie, ladies, a professional yet spunky scarf, shirt under your suit, bag, or shoes – but definitely not all of these combined. You don’t want to scare people off or give them the wrong impression that you’re one step away from more colors than the muumuu’s in a Florida retirement community…unless you’re trying to land a gig in the arts or fashion district. They allow for more flamboyance.

12 Steps to a Career You Deserve


Hi my name is Sharon and I’m in a dead-end career/unemployed/underemployed….
All in unison: Hi Sharon.

Remember that you’re still the seller and that etiquette, manners, and patience will bring you much closer to your career goals than bitterness, laziness or rudeness.

1. Figure out what you’re actually qualified to do that you’d potentially enjoy, and reach within your bounds, overshooting them will be a wasted effort and give burn-out

2. Decide what type of position would suit you ideally, p/t, f/t, consulting, internship, etc.

3. Create a consistent, professional brand and profile for yourself: resumes & cover letters for various industries/target audiences, business cards, online web presence, thank you letters, elevator pitch, etc.

4. Apply to advertised jobs with targeted cover letters – I’ve seen many resumes thrown out because the objective or cover letter is targeted to a different job – make it crystal clear why you want THIS job, and why you’re qualified for THIS job, but feel free to mention what else you’d consider or to keep things broad

5. Send your resume to places you want to work, explaining why you want to work there & what positions you’d like, even if they don’t have advertised positions

6. Network with people in the industry you want to be in

7. General networking: make sure everyone you know or meet knows what you’re looking for and why

8. Follow up with sincere, personally written thank you notes to everyone who does anything for you in the process from introductions to interviews – but NEVER give a deadline or imply one, i.e., “I hope to hear from you regarding your decision by September 1” – it’s in poor taste, and perhaps it takes a month for the company to come to a decision – do you want the company to think you’re not longer interested because they couldn’t accommodate you?

9. Present your very best: have an excellent dark suit, pressed collared shirts, and classic bags/shoes/accessories/portfolios to present at interviews. Have something a little more daring for networking events to look professional but stand out of the crowd.

10. Confidence works: Interview and network like you’re everyone’s favorite person, try to figure out culture of others and tailor all responses and actions to where you are – when in Rome, do as the Romans

11. Realize that different strokes work for different folks: just because a technique landed your last job, don’t expect it to automatically work again

12. Negotiate offer, unless it’s clearly set in stone. Never expect to get more than you’ve asked for previously, and don’t expect much more than a job was advertised or offered at. Most companies figure nowasdays that they can find someone to do the job at the salary they want to pay, and they’re OK if that person isn’t you – but generally it doesn’t hurt to ask if a little more is available due to your extraordianary skills, value and talents you bring to the company. Reinstate why you want this role, why you want to work for the company, but is there any room for flexibility?

It can’t hurt – if a place rescinds your offer because you asked to negotiate you probably don’t want to work there anyway…that’s not nice!

Short link: http://wp.me/pWfpN-61

Are you generic?

  1. Your image. Do you have standard vistaprint template business cards? (I’ll concede is one step above not having cards at all…)

There are hundreds of free business card templates if you can’t design your own. Don’t take the one with the drop of water into the pond. You want people to remember what your card looks like, why its design is relevant to what you do. I’m not saying to shape the entire card like a tooth if you’re a dentist, but hey, that would get you remembered. People would know what it is when the see it in their wallet. They might even show it to friends – hey, that’s free advertising!

2.  Your Email/website?

Is your email: firstnamebusinessname@hotmail.com? Is it long, hard to remember, or even worse, hard to spell? Is it unprofessional?

http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains – you can register a website/domain address for under $30 a year. If you have any company, no matter how small, this can be beneficial in that it’s professional, and looks like a ‘real company’. Just make sure you find a domain that’s easy to remember, and appropriate for your purpose (i.e. .org for non-profit, .com for almost everything else).

If you need to go the free route at least make it something people can remember – like sharonsjobs@yahoo.com – not sharonsjobassistancehelpsite@yahoo.com

3.  Your social networking profiles? You resume?

Do they look just like everyone else’s? Is it basically a bunch of job descriptions from various positions that have come together and look just like that?

Take my LinkedIn Profile as an example. It tells you that I’m unique. That I’ve got a wacky sense of humor, but accomplish a lot, and have an interesting writing style.

“Summary: You can pick my brain, if I can pick yours. Let’s work smarter, not harder.

Young brilliant dynamic creative overachiever with unlimited ambition. The sky’s the limit when it comes to my efforts to attain the impossible. I’m an expert at whatever I set my mind to, whether it be QA or making Wedding Cakes. I’m going to change the world, yes, even more than I already have. Before I forget to mention it, I have an amazing personality, natural knack for networking, and a hysterical sense of humor.

I started my first successful consulting company a few years back, designsdesigns.com which is steadily growing in three countries! I’ve edited a book (Journey Among Nations, buy it on amazon, check out the beautiful cover design, that’s my company at work!), written countless marketing campaigns, and designed corporate image makeovers.

My experience? I’m a talented wife, mother, city employee, job placer, recruiter, resume writer, fundraiser, project manager, program developer, and matchmaker to the not-so-rich-and-famous-yet happily married. I’m always open to new experiences.

Specialties: Brilliant copy writing, enthralling process contributions, policy making, ROI-guaranteeing guru for all Marketing needs.”

What has that gotten me you ask? Numerous job interview offers & lots of people I don’t know wanting to connect with me (some I do, some I don’t, I’ll go into who to/not to connect with another time).  

I’ve heard other people say that LinkedIn is where you go when you’re looking for a job, a friend even said to me once, “Does anyone hire through it?” Well, I’ve gotten job offers through it, and I’ve personally recruited through it for hard-to-fill positions. But if your profile is generic or incomplete, don’t expect much. I’m not saying your profile has to be as out there as mine is, hey, decorum is in order when you’re looking for a job (which yes, you should always be doing). You never know when your current position will be eliminated, or when a better opportunity may come your way, if you’re open to it.

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-q