What NOT to share when networking

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Networking, Uncategorized

This past Saturday I led a session on networking at a Career Day event hosted by the Carolina Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. One of the topics I covered in the session was networking phobias—the reasons people give for not networking—and one of those phobias is the idea that you don’t want other people to “know your business.” Although not a good reason to avoid networking, it is a good reminder that there are certain things we should keep to ourselves. An article posted recently on provides an excellent overview of “12 Things Successful People Never Reveal about Themselves at Work,” which can also serve as a list of things not to discuss when networking! Not all 12 items are relevant to job searching, but the items that are fall into several categories: When talking about work, don’t Say that you hate your job Describe co-workers as incompetent Reveal your salary When talking about your personal life, don’t Discuss your religious or political views Describe your sex life (or anyone else’s, for that matter!) Talk about your alcohol consumption Tell stories about your misspent youth One final suggestion that doesn’t fall into either of those categories: Don’t tell offensive jokes. And if you’re not sure if...

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More suggestions for networking

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Networking

As I continue examining recent articles on networking to share with you, I’ve been finding really interesting advice that comes at the topic from a variety of angles. Today I’m going to briefly review and comment on three more articles. We’ll start with one that is applicable to everyone, a Forbes article titled “The Only Three Networking Rules You Really Need to Know.” You can read the article yourself to get all the details, but the basic “rules” are: Network “clean,” which is a very strange way of saying that you should think of networking as a way to make industry “friends,” not professional contacts. There’s a logic to what they’re saying, but I wish the advice had been explained more clearly. Own your value, which means don’t forget that networking is a two-way street. You’re not just looking for something from others, you have something to offer—so remember to put it out there! Farm strategically, which is a strange metaphor that they use to talk about networking in such a way that you will produce the result (harvest the crop?) that you seek. Despite any quibbles about how the article presents the information, it does contain some good ideas about networking effectively. The second article, “Networking When You...

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Networking on LinkedIn

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Networking, Uncategorized

According to various sources, something like 90% of all recruiters are now using LinkedIn as a key mechanism for finding prospective hires. LinkedIn itself report that more than 30,000 companies use LinkedIn to recruit new employees. What that means for you (if you’re looking for a job) is that you really need to develop a lot of LinkedIn savvy. I am far from expert at using LinkedIn, although I have had a profile for many years and I do have about 750 connections. If I were a intending to look for a job, I would learn more about the subtleties of using LinkedIn to best advantage. But instead, I’m going to identify some resources that can help you use LinkedIn more effectively. Neil Fogarty, writing for Virgin Entrepreneur, provides “15 tips: How to get the most out of LinkedIn.” This is a great place to start because it gives you some very basic advice about how to set up your profile. The suggestions are concise and clear, and should help you get off the ground if you haven’t used LinkedIn before. HubSpot’s blog writer, Pamela Vaughan, wrote “How to Use LinkedIn: The Ultimate List of LinkedIn Tips,” and I found it to be a very detailed and thorough overview...

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Preparing to network

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Featured, Networking

In my past few posts I’ve been writing about networking, and today I want to take a step back and suggest that there are some things you need to do before you go to any type of networking event. Analyze the event in terms of what you hope to accomplish. There are lots of reasons to network, and your approach is going to be different depending on your purpose. Are you hoping to talk with prospective employers? Do you want to learn about a particular business or industry? Are you looking for investors (or partners) for a business venture? Do you need to learn more about the specifics of a particular career? Or are you just hoping to meet more people and expand your network more generally (which is a totally legitimate reason for going to a networking event!) Prepare an elevator speech relevant to your purpose. My book’s Tip 22. Create and practice your elevator speech can help you get started. You can also find lots of advice online about how to write an elevator speech. One of the best sources I’ve found comes from an article by Katherine Arline writing for Business News Daily. The key points are: keep it short (30 seconds or less), keep it...

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Networking Frogs

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Networking, Uncategorized

I recently ran across an article with a really catchy title, “Don’t be a Networking Frog.” It took me a minute to realize that this was a reference to the fairy tale of the Princess and the Frog and the idea that you have to “kiss a lot of frogs” before you meet your prince. The article is intended to help you discriminate between people who can really help you and those who are just “frogs” (but I’m not recommending you kiss any of them!). If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I think networking is one of the most important things that you can do to start (or improve) your career. In fact, in my book, Step 4: Create a Network has 14 tips to help you build your network, making it one of the longest sections in the book! The lessons in the “Don’t be a Networking Frog” article are valid: they’re all about give and take, listening to others to see if you can help them in addition to telling your story and trying to get their help. The author gives you 12 tips for figuring out how to recognize a frog, but you can also use that list to make sure that you...

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