Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Network with me

The conventional wisdom is that to get a job, or to get a better job, is to network. It's really the magical word around job and career advice these last couple years. I'll be honest, it's not something I'm great at. I don't run into too many people outside my company and it is hard to maintain friendships, especially of the networking kind, without feeling like a fraud.

So maybe it would be a little hypocritical for me to criticize other people's attempts. But here I go anyways. I've occasionally met people working on outside projects. Here's what they could do to get me to help them get a job:

  1. Ask me. That's right the first mistake people make is not asking me. You want to work where I work? Do I know someone who you know could get you a job? I see them sort of itching to get it out of me. But they don't know the easiest way. Please. If you want me to do you a favor than ask me to do you a favor. I'm not going to go out of my way to spontaneously help you. I'm a little conceited. I like to be asked.
  2. Show me. If I don't know what kind of work you do I can't recommend you to anyone. Show me that you are awesome, or that you fit a role. I'm not talking some crazy recruiter speak here. You don't have to prove that you fill the need that I didn't even know I had. Just show me you do good work. That you're a decent person who plays well with others.
  3. Don't embarrass me. Some of the few times I've had people asking me for a job, they're looking for a backup plan. They want me to get them something in the meantime even though I know they're applying to grad school in another six months or really would rather move back home. I can't do that. I'm not going to put my reputation on the line to get you something that is temporary. Also even if your work is great but you're always 15 minutes late to coffee with me or dress horribly or have some sort of aversion to hard work I'm also not going to give you a shot.
What do you think? Are these what you've seen with others networking and what are your own beefs?

(Photo from Mark Geo)

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