So Networking Is Not Working for You? Tips for Success

If your beloved business networking is not working for you: Face it! Making a career today by renewed job search is nothing less than embracing communication on all possible channels, offline and online. Buzz words like social media, personal branding and networking are on everybody’s lips. Where is this all going? In the long-term, maybe towards a burst of the communication bubble. In the short-term, towards getting you closer to the job you want.

so networking is not working for you

So get to work and network! No, it doesn’t count if you just ‘know’ people, and yes, it does require more effort than gathering some names in your agenda, but if you network right, you add value to your job search.

Where to start when networking is not working for you?

If you are currently looking for a new job opportunity and networking has just occurred to you as a good approach to adopt, it’s probably already late. A network generally develops organically and the connections within need constant, individual attention. But we’ve all heard of the saying ‘better late than never’ and your best shot right now is to revive your existing contacts. Making new ones is still possible, but don’t scare them off with your job-related inquiries.

In case you already have a well-established network, and you are wondering why there is no fruit to pick, you’ve got to rethink your strategy. Which part of the mechanism is faulty? Are you too pushy? Are you knocking at the wrong doors? Are you a lazy networker? If you identify yourself with any of these approaches, start by optimising your networking style.

Which channels to target when networking is not working for you (or in all other cases)?

Keep your feet on the ground and remember that traditional networking, where hands are shaken and body language is read, goes a long way. You’ve got a lot better chances of making a good, long-lasting impression on someone you meet in person, than virtually. This means you have to keep up with current events and become a regular.

Nonetheless, you cannot miss out on bonding via Web 2.0. Running an ‘online networking campaign’ in the background and having a prominent online presence is worth it as long as your current and potential contacts are using the internet to communicate. And they are using it. As the confident tone of your voice doesn’t have an echo online, your diplayed personal information and actions you take in this environment are your most valuable tools.

Eventually, an offline-online combo should do the trick.

Whom to include when networking?

A golden rule of networking is never to underestimate a contact’s potential. This doesn’t mean you should target everyone within your eyesight. But if you accidentally bump into an old classmate, saying ‘hello’ is not a wasted breath. Your network may comprise of anyone from your family and neighbours to past and present co-workers, bosses, friends, colleagues from business associations, alumni from your university.

How to succeed when networking is not working for you?

Getting your network to actually work requires a healthy, balanced attitude.

First of all, your contacts should not get the feeling you are struggling to find a new job. Be subtle about it, and show interest in other topics as well. For instance, you could put the focus on them. People are flattered when being asked about their achievements or personal goals. Keep in mind that it is not all about you, and that every relationship has two ends.

Second, you must acknowledge that a one-off is not enough. It is essential that you maintain your connections. Whether going through times of need or not, you have to act and react within your network. Keep in touch with people; show them you are genuinely interested in their lives or businesses. But set a clear borderline – you don’t want to overdo it.

Last, but not least, keep track of your contacts. Know who is who and when was your last encounter or discussion.

You’re right to think there’s a lot of work in netWORKing. But once you get in the game, you might find that it’s not only opportunistic reasons that drive you, but also the fun of interacting with people.

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