37 great comments!

Job Seekers Are Horrible Networkers

horrible networkers, social networking, job seekers, jobs seeker, job search, job seeking, habits, job, networkers, horrible, networker, perception, stereotypes, unfairThis post is about whether job seekers are horrible networkers. What’s your experience?

Depending on your experiences in life and in social networking circles, the title of this post will provoke a variety of reactions. I heard this statement from a friend of mine who reacted this way when he learned what I was doing with Tim’s Strategy.

He didn’t say it with a biting sarcasm or a pompous attitude. He said it with a laugh that told me he had a few negative experiences. But he wasn’t trying to be a jerk about it.

We talked about his experiences and they are not uncommon.

Unfortunately, there are many people who are still trying develop good networking habits. And there are those who are still lost in the old ways of social networking.

But my first reaction was:


Not because I haven’t met my share of job seekers struggling to communicate. Many are impatient, selfish and the like. But because he so quickly categorized “job seekers” as horrible.

Maybe if I was a pool cleaner, he would say “pool owners are horrible networkers.” Now I’ll never know.

But I think he, like a lot of other fully employed and forever employed people, has this perception that isn’t going anywhere.

What’s your reaction to his statement? Any truth in it for you?

Are job seekers any worse than accountants or insurance salesmen or financial planners?

Here’s my reality:

Despite a few exceptions who struggle with confidence during a job transition, job seekers are among the best at in-person networking. And those who’ve been through job search at some point in their career are even better (because they’ve been initiated into the job search fraternity).

This is because they’ve learned from experience. Have been humbled through the process. And understand that successful networking a lot of giving. Not just getting.

But realize that my friend’s comment is not unusual. Employed people expect you to struggle. Because they’ve met a lot of people who make mistakes. During informational interviews and other interactions.

The cool thing is that you will wow them if you become a good student of networking best practices. You will stand out. And get more effective results.

What are ways that you stand out from the rest? And how can you help others do so?  Your advice?

Thanks Candida.Performa for the photo via Flickr

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: | | | |
Categories: Career Networking
  • Sigmund

    Maybe it’s because the exceptions stand out so.  I remember someone who told me that I couldn’t understand what he did (too advanced for me) and as I proudly showed off my 1956 Chevy added that he could never understand why anyone would own an old car.  I’ll remember that longer than the meeting I had this morning with someone who showed genuine interest in my passions (as I did for his).

  •  Yeah, I think that’s right Sig. They are often so outlandish that we can’t help but remember them.  Funny, in your example, the silly assumptions we make about each other. Little did he know you were a genius!  (Well, at least I thing so).

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  • I don’t think job-seekers are horrible networkers, but i think some are reluctant or timid networkers. Networking isn’t easy for the shy and introverted. And the Internet has lulled us into a false sense that we are advancing our job search by sitting on our posteriors and applying to jobs through job boards. Comparing to uploading resumes and clicking “submit,” networking is hard and intimidating. Job-seekers sometimes fear rejection. They need to understand that networking, no matter how hard and scary, is to much more effective than passive methods. You are SO right, Tim, when you say, “you will wow them if you become a good student of networking best practices.  You will stand out.  And get more effective results.” If we could make more job-seekers see that, we wouldn’t have as much of a jobs crisis as we do.

  • Awesome comment Kathy.  And the option to networking – as you suggest – is not productive.  Despite the frustration that something have with needing to stick our necks out during transition it has always been the method that works.

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  • Nice one, Tim! 

    I’ve found the best networking comes when I’m as intentional about adding value and serving others as I am about getting something from the networking relationship. In fact, if I’m going to “error,” I “error” on the adding value and serving side of things.

  •  Absolutely Kent – Couldn’t agree more.  It’s not always intuitive to do this though.  We have to be patient!

  • Counter intuitive…so true Tim!

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