Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Top Excuses Why People Don't Network

The idea of networking is often resisted by job seekers. Since a strong network is the key to a successful job search, it's important to uncover the reasons for this resistance. Here are the most common obstacles people face and some recommendations for how to move past them.

1. I don’t want to ask for a favor

Many people think that when you network you are asking someone for a job. But this is not the goal of networking. When you network, you never ask for a job. You ask for information about an industry, company, or position

2. Fear of rejection

Many people fear that if they ask for information the other person might not be willing to talk to them. While it is true that not everyone will agree to meet with you, many people will extend help to you and you have nothing to lose by asking.

3. Lack of awareness regarding the effectiveness of networking

Most people in a job search spend too much time canvassing the open job market, the market everyone gets to see through job posting boards and recruiters. Far fewer explore the hidden market; the jobs that are never posted, but instead are filled through connections. The odds of finding a position through the smaller, hidden market are greater than those in the open market.

4. Not comfortable talking to people they don’t know

60% of the population considers themselves shy. This perception leads to less networking. If the prospect of speaking to someone you don’t know is overwhelming right now, start to build your network by talking with people you do know such as friends, family, neighbors, or your doctor or dentist. If they can lead you to others who can help you gain necessary information for your search, your network will grow in a steady, comfortable way.

5. I want to do it on my own

When you are selected for a position, it’s because you have the skills to support the needs of the position. You showcase your individual accomplishments and differentiate yourself from the competition. But in order to tell your stories to the right person you need to cast a wide net. You leverage your network to find the right audience, not to get the job.

6. Uncomfortable talking about yourself

Many of us were raised to be humble and not to brag. Networking and interviewing requires that you talk about yourself and your accomplishments. When you talk about your skills, you are not bragging. It’s only bragging if your discussion contains hyperbole, half truths, or lies.

7. Concerns about others knowing your business

Feeling too proud to tell people you are in a job search? Examine the cause. Have you assumed that networking is asking for a job? Next, examine the consequences. If you fail to incorporate networking as a method of search, it may take you much longer to find a job.

8. Lack of knowledge regarding the process

If you don’t understand networking, now’s the time to learn. To be an effective networker, you need to be willing to share information, build relationships based on trust and reciprocity, leverage existing relationships to create new ones, and create ways to stay in touch to continue giving. Those who don’t understand the process, who use people for information and never build the relationship or return the favor give networking a bad name and lose credibility in the eyes of others.

9. Expecting things to move too quickly

Networking is an ongoing process. Like a child, your network needs time to grow and you need to nurture it along the way. You must pay attention to your network to keep relationships strong. Many contacts are not able to lead you to the person capable of making a hiring decision. You must constantly “stir the pot” to effectively network. Take care of your network and it will in turn take care of you.

What's your excuse? Feel free to share your thoughts so we can help you break through your networking barriers and accelerate your job search.



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