Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt the same way. At some point in our lives, be it recent or from a time that seems like another life we once called our own, we have all had to face the prospect of career networking.
Career networking defined: For those unfamiliar with the concept of career networking, that’s the magical life event that throws us all together into one huge mad stew of etiquette and self-promotion skills. That intoxicating concoction created from the dual ingredients of a job or better career path and the basic human desire to want to help other people.
We’ve all had to face it. But, what’s more, we’ve had to face the deeper unnerving truth underneath it.
Networking reality: Most of us don’t like to network.
Sure, some of us might have changed perspective about that by now, but the fact of the matter is: networking and thoughts of it make most people uncomfortable, for many reasons.
If your motto is “Nope to Networking,” think again as you consider a few reasons why many fall prey to fear as well as a counter as to why fear should NOT conquer:
- “I don’t want to be a bother.”
This is perhaps the silliest reason of them all. Especially when you stop to consider who you are bothering. Everybody already has a network, whether they think they do or not. Everyone you know is in your network, and everyone who knows who you know. And… er, well, you get the point. Since this is true, this also means your current friends are already part of your network. And your friends, if they are your friends, would want to help you in a time of need. They’d think the same is true if you’re a real friend to them. You would want a mutual win-win.What you also have to consider is the simple fact that people generally like to talk about themselves and be praised. Asking them for networking help and advice is an opportunity for them to do both at the same time.
- “People in my network have no useful information about my desired field.”
A relevant personal note on this that also ties into my first point above: I wouldn’t have the job with Education Career Services I have right this minute if it wasn’t for that “friend network” mentioned above. And there are job perks I’m enjoying at the moment that perhaps wouldn’t have crossed my path if not for the friends I’ve made in my network. This particular friend, in the teaching field and also networking for a career job herself, happened to be perusing Craigslist one day.Though the “Writing/Editing” tab within Craigslist’s job board was not in her particular field, my friend clicked on it, searched within the confines of Orlando’s writing/editing jobs, and scrolled along searching. After she clicked on one job in particular looking for a writer, she later told me she immediately thought of me after reading the description and requirements. See that?
It really is that easy. Any close friend could be looking for his or her own self and in their search, due to our wonderfully altruistic human nature, could end up getting you a great job first.
- “My personality isn’t right for networking.”
You may be right. Especially if, like myself, you consider yourself an introvert. Research suggests that extroverted people are much likelier to utilize networking in general, and be more open to its possibilities. On the flip side of that, however, is that sometimes extroverts also have a tendency to give the impression of not entirely caring what people have to say, but are more interested in hearing themselves talk. Again… I say some extroverts. That’s why a noble goal here is to shoot to be an ambivert. Check out: Introvert or extravert? Maybe you’re an ambivert.While some researchers debunk this whole “ambivert” concept, I think it’s an idea worth giving some thought. Be yourself but try to pay close attention to your specific networking situations. A pinch of diplomacy and the ability to realize when it’s the right time to speak up, shut up, and not give up — while making use of the strengths tied to both introversion and extroversion, can only help your cause.
Besides, the magic happens outside of that comfort zone we like to live in, as we know all too well but sometimes tend to forget.
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Penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Education Career Services
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com
This article references information found in http://thingscareerrelated.com/2013/03/31/why-we-hate-networking-for-jobs-confessions-of-a-networking-convert/ by Rebecca Fraser-Thill.