Towards the end I wrote “amazing things happen when you follow-up.” I also wrote “see what happens” when you follow-up, to your networking, attitude, morale, and job search efforts.
I share this from personal experience of a horrible networker. Playing Monday Morning Quarterback, I now realize that I was focusing on my own image, and I was focusing on numbers (how many new people I meet), but I most definitely was not focusing on real relationships.
I somehow thought that “networking” meant you meet more of the right people… but I didn’t realize that I should have been developing a relationship with them. The relationship you have when you first meet someone is what I would consider “superficial.” That is, you don’t really know them, they don’t really know you… and if you leave it that way, you are left in a position of not really being able to help one another.
I realized later that a main goal of my networking efforts should have been to go beyond superficial, and really start to get to know the other person. As that happened, they would start to get to know me. As we nurtured our relationship, we would be in a position where we could, and wanted to, really help one another. We could trust the other person with our introductions, and they would trust us. Our professional relationship would go beyond this job search… because this was not a relationship just because I was in need, looking for a job.
This is done with what I call multiple “touch points.” That is, all of the different times that you communicate with, or are in front of, that person. Send an email? That’s a touch point. Text, call, meet for lunch, see at a networking event and say hi? Those are all touch points. When you go out of your way to say hi, or when you send an email that is obviously personalized, that is an effective touch point. Contrast that to forwarding junk or chain letters (NEVER DO THAT!!), or sending too many impersonal emails without ever sending something personalized…
A big part of our career management (which has taken the place of the 1900’s term: job security) is nurturing individual relationships. Don’t make the same mistake I made and think that just adding more people to your list, meeting more people at a conference, constitutes “networking.”