If you want career success, a dream job and an amazing benefits package, then networking is the best way to get there. If I sound like a late night infomercial then excuse me, Mr. Eloquent. It’s the truth, your career can only get so far without networking skills, and networking isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. It has its own rules and etiquette, one of the most significant faux pas is asking for a job while networking and this is why.
See Also: How to Turn Networking into a Business
First off networking is about human connections, not business (well, at least, everyone acts like it is). So, it’s kind of rude to set up a lunch meeting, get a drink after work with a friend (which is the darndest thing because they coincidentally work at the company that you want a job at too!) and come out with “What’s good man…;got any jobs for me?” or the equally offensive “Hey, daddio what’s the big ticket haps on making some Washington’s?” Actually, that last example of 1950s colloquial speech would be so obtuse that no one would understand it anyway so go nuts.
Shining a Light
Another reason you shouldn’t ask for a job while networking is that you put that person on the spot, especially if your request was unexpected. It’s much more significant to establish meaningful and, more importantly, human relationships within your field. If the person likes you and knows what you do because they worked with you or it just came up during normal conversation, then if they become aware of a job they’ll probably let you know. But if you act like a walking resume, they are less likely to give you a call. Think of networking as getting allies, not meeting with human job classified ads.
Instead of flat out asking for a job, ask if your netwo-friend (yes I just coined that, just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?) would mind if you used them as a reference. Use tact, though, don’t just blurt out “Hey can I use you as reference?!” the second you sit down. Talk, have some drinks and then let them know that you are looking for other jobs or already left your previous place of employment. Then when it seems appropriate ask. Networking is a social function just like any other one, the rules of etiquette are still valid, it’s not like you’d invite a friend out and immediately ask them to help you move, watch your dog or help you wax your way too hairy back.
Give and Take
Ultimately, remember that most human relationships be it friendly, professional or romantic ones are based on an equal give and take. Most people will end any one of those relationships above if they are putting in more than they are getting out of it. Sharing is caring, see there’s even a whole saying dedicated to that exact dynamic. Put your friends in touch with the other people within the industry, let them know about jobs they might be interested in, and finally remember just being a good friend is often enough to get good people on your side.
See Also: How to Network With a Purpose
Are there any other networking tips or things to avoid that you know of? Let us know in the comment section below.