Job Search- Why your networking isn't working

Why is it that everyone knows that networking is important, yet so few of us do it very well?

I think it has something to do with the old saying that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  That implies that simply knowing and being around certain people automatically makes you more likely to succeed in your job search.

I couldn’t agree less!  You’ve got to stop waiting for people to hand you leads on jobs and start networking in a way that gets results.

Yes, knowing people is better than not, but that alone won’t cut it.  People need to know you.  That means they feel some level of connection with you that makes them comfortable in referring you to opportunities they know about.

In today’s world, there’s knowing people in person and knowing people on-line.  Both are important to a successful job search.


This is what most people think of when networking is mentioned.  It’s also the area that most people do wrong.  Instead of just letting friends and family know that you are looking for a job, get out and meet people who share your interests and background.

For most of us, there are plenty of ways to meet others who share our interests and background.  Join an organization with like-minded people who meet periodically.

Also, consider directly reaching out to individuals who do what you would like to do.  Invite them for a coffee and let them know you’d like to know more about how they got to where they are.  You’ll be surprised how willing people are to help in this way.

Either way, showing up isn’t enough.  You need to allow people to get to know you.  That’s best done by getting to know them FIRST.

Be curious. Ask people about their background.  They’ll return the favor and you won’t come across as simply trying to use them.


Are you on LinkedIn?  If not, you need to be.  If you are, but not really using it other than hoping to be found, that isn’t enough. Get involved rather than sitting on the virtual sideline.

There are plenty of groups you can join at LinkedIn that allow you to interact with people who share your interests.  Just go to the search field.  Select “groups”.  Type in your area of interest.

However, don’t join a group and simply post a note saying you are looking for a job.  Join the conversations that are happening.  Add your input.  Learn from what others are saying.

By the way, don’t stop at LinkedIn.  There are plenty other places.  Get busy finding them. One of my favorites is www.48days.net.

The Bottom Line

What really matters is the willingness of people to help you.  They can’t help if they don’t know and they won’t help if they don’t believe in you first.

Get involved.  Being active serves as a magnet.  You’ll start to see opportunities you didn’t see before and you’ll be in a better position to take advantage.

Question:  What have you done to find success in networking?


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Comment by Leslie Chukwuma on July 26, 2012 at 11:08pm
Thanks for this post, Jeff. Great advice.

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