Five Networking Rules To Follow

Five Networking Rules To Follow

Working on that next promotion? Trying to feel out a new company for a possible career move?  All things job-related require good networking skills, whether you are a teacher hob-nobbing with the school board or a CEO hosting an investor’s luncheon.

People who get ahead in their careers are good at networking.  In order to make the most of your networking, follow these guidelines.

1.  Pretend like you’re not networking. Never go in to a networking situation and start overtly networking.  Your conversations with the ones you’ve decided will help you must be friendly.  Wait for an opportunity to mention that you’ve always wanted to move into administration rather than awkwardly mentioning it in the middle of talk about last night’s Laker’s game.

2.  Handle the bill – once. If you are meeting a possible connection for dinner to talk business, even casually, offer to pick up the bill the first time.  Let the other person know that you appreciate being able to pick their brain or that they have taken time out of their schedule to meet with you.

3.  Remember, they’re networking too. While you are pondering your networking list of requests, remember the person you are working the net with is likely in search of a career hook-up too.  Listen to their skill set.  Pick up on their hints.  If you are able to help them, and are in tune with their networking needs, they will be more likely to help you.

4.  Wait for an offer. Although it is tempting to come out and say, “Here’s my resume. Can you please hand it to your friend, Steve Jobs…”  wait for a person to offer you a connection.  If you have dropped hints about your ideal job, your skill set, and they aren’t taking the bait, it may be best to move on.  Refer back to rule #3.  If it’s clear they’re not networking and they aren’t offering to help, you may appear desperate if you come out and ask for a career favor.

5.  Beware of online networking. Do not mindlessly troll LinkdIn or Facebook to shark your friend’s or co-worker’s contacts.  Drop hints that you’d love to meet your co-worker’s friend who happens to be the Superintendent of the school you’d love to work for.  Wait for an introductory email or (even better) a personal introduction.  After that has happened, feel free to use your online networking tools to their maximum.

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