Three Networking Rules to Ditch Now
The prospect of networking is enough to make most people a little uncomfortable. But there’s no denying the power of relationships when you’re competing for a job or a promotion. At www.Grantham.edu we’ve made it our mission to make quality education affordable and attainable for working adults. As a result, most of the students we serve are already working at least part time – many are working full-time in the military, federal government, private sector, as law enforcement or first responders or entrepreneurs.
But if you’re working and serving full time and going to school, where are you going to find time to build your professional network? That’s a question we hear a lot. The good news is that since you’re working, you’ve already begun building your network. You’re off to a great start!
There are lots of resources available that offer networking tips and guidance. Many of them are exceptional. But there are a few pieces of advice that should be taken with a grain of salt. Three commonly-followed rules that you should break (or at least bend a bit) include:
Rule #1: Be Aggressive.
There’s a lot to be said for setting goals and going after them with enthusiasm, persistence and confidence. But when you’re trying to build a professional network, there’s a fine line between persistence and stalking.
- Do your research and identify people who are connected with your desired field of employment.
- Join professional associations that are relevant and well-regarded in your field.
- Not be afraid to introduce yourself to new people and ask intelligent questions about their industry or line of work
- Ask your contacts to introduce you to people with whom you might have common goals, backgrounds or interests.
You SHOULD NOT:
- Doggedly contact people you’ve never met with requests for information, introductions, or job interviews.
- Bombard professional groups with spam, blanket-send your resume to boards of directors “for their reference.”
- Under any circumstances just “show up” at someone’s place of business without an invitation or prior appointment. That’s a pretty good way to earn yourself a restraining order.