Why Your Current Networking Strategy Might Not Be Working

Career Blog

Published: May 23, 2016 by Jill Klees

Successful networking isn’t really successful unless you do one last thing and that is take action.

You attend the Career Development workshops, you thoroughly reviewed the Networking section of the Career Development resource site, and you have practiced your networking skills when you’ve gone to the ALA Annual Conference, but you are questioning the hype about networking and wondering why this job search strategy doesn’t seem to be working for you. Perhaps you have missed the final step of networking.

Successful networking isn’t really successful unless you do one last thing and that is take action and follow through. I see it like this, with every networking contact you make there is an opportunity attached to it and it comes down to you whether you choose to act on that opportunity or not.

Don’t just collect business cards for the sake of going through the motions of networking. Connect with them on LinkedIn or follow-up with an email letting the person know you enjoyed talking with them. Perhaps share something that you learned from the conversation, share a link to an interesting article, or invite the person to meet for coffee to continue the dialogue. The point is, don’t let the two hours you just spent meeting new people go to waste because you are too “busy” or too shy to follow-up. Even if the individual in question doesn’t have a job for you, he/she might know someone who knows someone who knows someone and that is the essence of networking.

Let’s just say you hear about a job lead when talking to someone you met while networking. Did you ask for the name and email address or phone number of the person you need to contact? Did you take the next step of contacting the person you were referred to and following-up on that lead?

Or maybe you are ending a temporary contract assignment and one of your co-workers gives you the name of someone she used to work with at another company and says you should give this person a call and do an informational interview to see what is going on at their company. Do you call the person and set something up? Do you follow-through?

Starting to get my point?

Here is one more scenario. Say you do contact someone you met at a networking event and you have a nice conversation on the phone and the person asks what you are interested in doing after graduation. Your networking contact lets you know that their company does not have any openings at this time but that they might in about 6 months. You are recommended to give her a call back and check-in. Do you put it on your calendar and call the person back in 6 months to follow-up or do you let this potential opportunity pass you by?

The follow-through and action step is the critical element to the success of your networking relationships. It’s like the icing on the cake of your networking strategy.