Expert networker Heidi Thorne and I initially met through Twitter, then schedule an in person meeting and over the past few months have become networking buddies. Heidi introduced me to Scott Kolbe and iConnect. Thanks Heidi for sharing your networking words of wisdom with our readers.
My friend Scott Kolbe was lamenting about difficulties he is having in encouraging some people to visit the iConnect LinkedIn online/offline networking group he leads. One in particular is currently out of a job. So Scott encouraged him to attend to make some new connections which might lead to interviews or referrals. The guy was extremely hesitant and wanted to know who was going to be there and wanted assurances of certain connections or results. Huh? He is unemployed and has nothing to do at the moment… except maybe scour the online job sites.
This scenario brings up the burning question: If you’re not networking, what are you doing to secure your future?
If our unemployed friend had been an active networker all along, he may not have even been in this situation. At least he’d have to sort through opportunities as opposed to sorting through the shows on daytime TV. Many who are finding themselves being laid off of their jobs, usually after many years of service, are not easily finding new opportunities because they’ve been out of the circuit for so long. Only when the layoff happens do they turn on their networking selves. It can take months or years to build, or rebuild, the trust and inroads through networking. So I hope their unemployment checks will see them through.
Another type of job seeker is those who have relied solely on job search sites, classified ads, and job postings. Once they land a job, they land and don’t take off again until the next storm hits. Their situation is the most precarious of all because they have limited their network to the confines of their current employment or just family and friends.
One reason that so many wait until the inevitable happens to begin networking is that it’s a lot of work! Whether you build your social network online or offline, or some combination thereof, it takes time and effort. People do business and hire those they like and trust. If you’re only connecting when you need something, you will show yourself as someone who just uses people and someone who is needy. I wouldn’t hire someone like that. Would you? Certainly something to think about.
ABOUT HEIDI THORNE
Heidi Thorne is a promotional products marketing expert and social media advisor who helps her clients “Keep Your Brand in the Hand of Your Customers.” With over 23 combined years in the hospitality, convention, advertising, and public relations fields, she can advise and guide on marketing for events and tradeshows. Visit her blog.