Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2016 Contents B18
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Another year, more networking
stories! My inbox fills up with them
at least once a week. Here are ten
latest Networking No-Nos, for savvy
networkers to avoid (or cringe over,
when these Don'ts are perpetrated
1. Don't call a person you
don't know with the
explanation "Susan Smith
suggested that we meet" if
Susan suggested no such
This tactic is called Introduction
Theft. If Susan really told you to meet
Pete or Henry or Jorge, that's great.
If you merely heard that Susan is
friends with Pete or Henry or Jorge
and decided to cover the last mile and
make the connection on your own,
you've violated a networking proto-
The last thing Susan needs is to
hear from Jorge, asking "Did you tell
that lady to call me?" when in fact
Susan didn't. In that case, would you
expect Susan to lie on your behalf?
Friends don't ask friends to lie for
them, so don't do it.
2. Don't contact a stranger
for networking purposes and
lay out your time and travel
It's both flabbergasting and galling
for a busy person to open an email
message that says "I heard you could
help me in my job search. We know
Carlo, Rajiv and Melissa in common.
Shall we meet for lunch? How about
the 20th, at Appleby's?" That's pre-
The first question of a new
prospective networking contact is
"Would it be convenient for you to
meet me, ever?" Time and place fol-
low if your target person is game to
share his time with you at all. Don't
jump the gun.
3. Don't bring a resume to
lunch or coffee without
asking permission to do so.
I'm not a big fan of highly-directed,
"this networking coffee or lunch is
all about my job-search" networking.
Good networking balances time and
focus between two people who both
have stories and issues to share. If
you're meeting a new person merely
to pick his or her brain for your job-
search needs, you should be paying
him or her a consulting fee.
Instead, make the meeting about
both of you, and look for ways to help
your lunch- or coffee-mate with
something on his or her plate.
A good way to signal "this coffee
date is strictly about me" is to whip
out your resume and ask your new
acquaintance to read it. That's out of
If you have plans to share your
paper resume over lunch or coffee,
Better yet, describe your story ver-
bally and don't turn your lunch into
a uni-directional career-coaching ses-
4. Don't meet a new person
and immediately ask for an
When you meet a new contact for
lunch or coffee, you're getting two
incredibly valuable things - some of
his or her time, and his or her atten-
Don't press your advantage by ask-
ing for introductions, too, unless your
new pal has offered to make one or
more of those for you.
That being said, you can and should
jump on an overture like "If there's
anyone in my LinkedIn network you'd
like to meet, be sure to let me know"
or "How can I help in your job
"You can introduce me to someone
among your colleagues or friends
whom you think would be interested
in my background, if you don't mind,"
is a good answer.
Be sure to emphasize that you value
reciprocity (if you do, and I hope you
do) and that you'll strive to help any
new networker you meet as much as
or more than you'll look for help with
your own search.
5. Don't forget to pay for
lunch or coffee.
A very important networking prin-
ciple is one I call the Happy Life Rule.
Anyone we reach out to, or are intro-
duced to, must be presumed to be
leading a happy life without benefit
of knowing you. (Sounds crazy, but
Therefore, we can't take the view
that the opportunity to have lunch
or coffee with you is a rare privilege
for this busy person. It may tilt in the
direction of an obligation, or it may
be neutral, notwithstanding the chip-
per email message that says "I can't
wait to meet you!"
You've got to pay for lunch or coffee
if you made the overture. You've got
to drive, too - don't suggest a meeting
point halfway between your office in
the city and your networking contact's
office in the suburbs, thirty miles
away. You go to him (or her).
6. Don't sic a friend on a
This is jarring: I get back to my
office after a pleasant mid-morning
coffee with a young job-seeker. My
phone rings as I walk in, and a young
voice says "I understand you met my
friend Amy. Can you also have coffee
That's not cricket. Before you send
a friend or colleague to any networker
in your circle, ask permission.
7. Don't add a networker to
your mailing list without
asking if it's okay.
I love the idea of "Kara's Job-Search
Newsletter" and I applaud folks who
keep their networks posted.
Email newsletters are a sensi-
tive topic. Don't add anyone to
your mailing list without asking
specifically if that's okay. The last
thing you want to do is destroy
the fragile bond of friendship
you've built by spamming a new
8. Don't forget to say,
If a new or old contact of yours
makes an introduction, gets your
resume in the right pile or helps
you out in any way, acknowledge
The worst "don't do this!" story
I've ever heard in this department
was the story of a young man
who asked a new acquaintance
for an introduction to the HR
folks at a big department store.
The young man was seeking a
Buyer Trainee position.
A month later, after the intro-
duction was made, the older
businessperson checked in via
email. "So, did you ever connect
with Greta Marshall in the
department store's HR depart-
ment?" he asked. "I told Greta
about you, and asked her to call
"Yeah, she called me," replied
the young man, "and I had an
interview, but I didn't get the
job." Yikes! You didn't get the
job - that's a shame.
The introduction still hap-
pened, and introductions are
worth gold - so say thanks,
regardless of the outcome.
9. Don't go too often to
"Dear Sarah, we met last
month and you were kind enough
to give me some tips on my job
search," says the message in
Sarah's inbox. "Can we meet
again, as I have a few more ques-
tions for you?" Sarah must say
Nix to this well-intentioned but
A typical businessperson might
have two or three new-network-
ing spots available, per month.
Don't lean too heavily on one or
two members of your network.
Spread the requests for support,
help and advice around.
Of course, when you land in
your next job, thank your network
profusely for the support it's
given you. People love happy
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