Don’t Give Up Just Yet – Make Networking Work For You


You know that applying for advertised jobs isn’t the best way to find your new, dream opportunity or so you’ve been told.

The problem is, networking hasn’t worked for you.  You still don’t have a new job.

You’re still hanging out at the old one. And you’ve really had enough.

It’s not as though you didn’t take on the advice to network. You’ve put the feelers out even though you’ve found the process uncomfortable. You’ve let people in your network know what you’re looking for. You’ve sent your CV around. You’ve even had some exploratory discussions with a few people outside your circle.

And they haven’t come to anything. In fact, the last person you called for advice about moving into a related but different industry was decidedly unhelpful.

So you’ve gone back to way you used to do things.  You’ve started searching and applying for advertised jobs – it’s what you know how to do and you feel like you’ve got some sense of control over the process. As I wrote in an earlier post, Are You in Control of Your Next Opportunity, focusing on advertised opportunities isn’t the best way to manage your search.

I make the following points to encourage you to keep going and not to give up!

Moving into a new career/industry isn’t normally an overnight thing

It can take months and years. Successfully changing your career requires patience, persistence and resilience. The great thing is, every time you meet a new contact or receive a new piece of advice you’re moving closer to your dream. You’re mastering the art of building relationships and connections. By asking questions you’re learning about new options and you’re getting new ideas.

By doing something you may not be that comfortable with initially you’ll become better at it. Over time, taking a stranger out for coffee will become a straightforward and easy thing to do. It won’t feel awkward. The same can be said for asking your network to introduce you to key contacts.

Networking is a two way street

Focus on how you can help your network in addition to how they can help you.  It’s not just about what you can get out of the relationship. What can you give to the other party? Can you share an experience? Can you send them an interesting article? Can you connect them to a beneficial contact?

Not everyone you connect with will be helpful

You won’t feel great after every single meeting. You might say the wrong thing or forget what you’re going to say. Maybe you said you’d buy them coffee and you forget your wallet. Or perhaps you meet and there an obvious disconnect. There’s no need to feel bad about any of this. Learn from the experience and move onto the next thing on your to do list.

Follow up

Even if you’re introduced to key contacts by someone in your network you’ll need to arrange the meeting. You may have to call the contact a few times plus email to set it up. If you don’t get a response to your voice mail/email it doesn’t mean they’re not interested in meeting you. They’re probably really busy and scrambling to get through their messages.

Twelve months ago I got access to a great opportunity simply by continuing to follow up after an introduction. I left several voice mail messages but never got a call back. Did I let the lack of call back stop me? No. I kept following up because I believed that this was a great opportunity  and if I worked with them, it would be for them too. When I finally got in touch with the contact a face to face meeting was arranged immediately. Two days later the deal that I’d hoped for became a reality.

What are your takeaways from this post? What are you going to do next?

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