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Asked by Tanya on March 16, 2017

I feel like my networking and “informational interviews” are just creating more work without accomplishing anything. What am I doing wrong?

Answered by Ashlyn, Hiring Expert at Worthington Industries, on March 20, 2017

Hello,
I would suggest taking a step back and evaluating the ways in which you are networking. Are the events and or people that you're talking to related to the field in which you'd like to find a position? Do you have specific questions that you'd like to get answered when attending the events or interviews?  If you feel like you're wasting your time you probably aren't networking in the right places. I would consider researching some other options and going into the events with questions/suggestions/ideas that you can share to get the ball rolling and accomplish what you'd like.

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on April 4, 2017

You’re not the first person to think networking is a waste of time, but the fact is that professional connections are consistently one of the best ways to land a career. Consider if you’re doing enough of the right things to leave a lasting impression.

As much as you want to gain new knowledge, successful networks are built on mutually beneficial relationships. Approach your next conversation focused on knowledge sharing and building new long-term professional relationships, not outlining your need to find a new job. Identify what you can offer up that makes you stand out - your own expertise or maybe a connection to someone you know they would like to meet. If you made a personal invitation to grab coffee/lunch/etc., pick up the tab as a gesture of thanks, and always follow through on sharing any resources, contacts, or leads you promised. Lastly, don’t insist on someone reviewing your resume or referring you to a job unless it comes up naturally in conversation.

Think through your strategy and set yourself up for success at your next meet-and-greet. You’ll be fielding offers to network with you, and maybe even multiple jobs, before you know it!

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Answered by Brittany, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on May 9, 2017

Sounds like that is getting to be pretty frustrating. Here are a couple questions to consider:

  • What is your goal in networking and informational interviews? Are you making it about what you want or are you making the conversation about the other person and genuinely learning from them?
  • Are you making sure to follow-up with them by sending a thank you email, letter or LinkedIn message? Do you stay in contact and congratulate them on any successes or even share any articles that you think they would find helpful or interesting?

The people that you are networking with are now part of your extended community. If you are treating them like a leverage point, they will most likely see this and not be as willing to help. Taking a genuine curiosity in someone and listening more than talking in your conversation sounds simple and elementary, but these two things go a long way. If it's not a good match, that's okay -- keep meeting people and asking about their success stories to see if you are able to apply some of those same principles to your own experiences and career.

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