Thursday, August 18, 2016

Good News, Job Seekers: You No Longer Have to Network

Networking ranks with public speaking as something introverted and shy people desperately want to avoid. During a job search, however, networking is the best way to get hired. As I’ve said previously in the Shy Job Seeker Blog, employers don’t like the hiring process any more than job hunters do. Most employers would rather hire people they know and people who are recommended or referred to them. So making human contact, as painful as it is for introverts, is a key way to find your ideal job.

I recently attended a presentation by Bill Baldus, Career Center Director for Metropolitan State University, at the National Career Development Association (NCDA) Annual Conference. Because many people are intimidated by or have an aversion to the word networking, he discussed whether it should be called something else, such as connecting or reaching out.

I recommend the 365 Days of Networking Blog to job seekers. [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
I recommend the 365 Days of Networking blog to all job seekers.

It’s an interesting idea: Does using a word other than networking make the action and process more palatable to and doable for introverted, shy, and scared job seekers? My first reaction was no. Introverts dread approaching someone they don’t know, especially with a purpose or goal in mind.

But the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. Perhaps an introverted job seeker just needs to say hello, introduce himself or herself, ask a question about what brings someone to a gathering, and ask for a bit of career or job-search advice. Perhaps if the stakes are made less important—all I need to do is say hello and introduce myself to two people, for example—it is easier to take action. If all an introverted job seeker needs to do is make a connection or two today, and another connection or two in a few days, networking becomes less stomach churning.

Of course, no matter what you call it, making contact with other people during your job hunt is necessary. But look at it this way: If you can tell yourself to make one contact today and another one tomorrow, you will most likely hit pay dirt soon and shorten your job search. You will also meet some nice people who are happy to help you in your effort to get hired.

Bill Baldus has been making one networking contact every single day for 365 days “to demystify this all-important skill and make it doable by illustrating ways it has actually worked for people.” He is writing about his experiences in the 365 Days of Networking blog. Check it out and let me know if it helps in your job search.

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