Networking is NOT Job Search

Okay, I know this sounds strange, especially coming from me. Especially since this is a blog about how to find a job and I harp on networking all the time.  To be clear, networking is a fantastic job search technique – quite possibility the most important job search technique.  But networking is about more than job search. 

When you network, your goal is to meet people, learn more about them, and help them to learn more about you.  Then, you ask them to refer you to others so you can repeat that process, and learn more about others, and have them learn more about you. 

You should use networking to:

  • Learn about people – what they do and who they are (they are people – not just contacts),
  • Learn more about companies – what they do and what it’s like to work there,
  • Learn more about industries – what is booming and what is about to bust,
  • Learn more about communities – where is a good place to put down, or strengthen roots, and
  • Learn about volunteer opportunities – where you can use your skills and make the world a better place.

And yes while that is happening, you may also use networking to:

  • Learn about who is hiring for what jobs,
  • Learn about hiring managers and what they are looking for, and
  • Learn what jobs you do NOT want to apply for.

It’s a subtle difference, but if you make networking as simply a means to find a job, you might miss the bigger opportunity to truly build a network, rather than simply endure a string of meetings that may, or may not, lead you to the next job.  Invest in your network and it will pay dividends.  Make your networking be all about finding your next job and you may find yourself struggling.

If you need some help, read this.

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