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A tale of two networkers

Career Collective post: Once every month or so, a group of career professionals blog on a subject topical and timely for a job seeker. We’ll post our thoughts on our own blog and link to the post of our colleagues on the same topic.

This month’s topic: “Networking.” Responses from others contributors are linked at the end. Search the hashtag #CareerCollective on Twitter.

Networking. The mere mention of the word strikes terror in the hearts of even the most seasoned professionals. For some reason, the thought of connecting with fellow human beings has become more like something we have to do, instead of something that happens naturally. What used to be pleasant conversation and sharing morphed into to-do list entries and deadlines. We set specific dates and list relevant topics for planned contact. We make detail notes regarding outcome. We schedule the next contact. Whew. Sounds like work.

True. Everything works better with a plan. And there’s nothing wrong with contact management systems, especially when incorporated into a job search. But networks and connections aren’t just for job search. Get caught up in the busy-ness of business and life and risk missing important supports and resources. Isn’t networking another word for “staying in touch”? Focus on being a supportive friend and business associate. Share – ideas, training opportunities, business articles, hobby-related information, recipes, a quick hello – whatever may interest your contacts and watch your network grow. Stop fretting so much about the concept of networking and start cultivating relationships – a solid network sprouts from thoughtful, considerate contact.

Recently, two clients, independent of the other, shared networking stories with me. Both clients experienced the power a network they didn’t “intentionally” engage. First is Albert. Albert recently completed his master’s degree in psychology. He’s been considering different career paths ever since graduation. Albert remains, after all these years, connected to a childhood friend, Fred. While Albert and Fred now live in different states, they make time for occasional catch-up phone calls. During a recent call Albert mentioned his latest career options to his friend, as part of the overall update, not in a “help me find a job” context at all. Fred’s father has known Albert since childhood and always welcomes his son’s updates after a phone conversation with his old friend. Fred shared Albert’s most recent academic accomplishment. Fred’s dad said, “Gee, I was golfing with a friend the other day who can use someone with just that background …” Albert flew out for an interview this past Thursday.

Candice attended an industry conference a few months ago. She ran into a former colleague, Les. They’d touched base over the years, but it was nice to have a face-to-face opportunity to connect. They quickly shared life and career highlights and drifted back to conference sessions. Several months later, Candice’s phone rang. It was Les. Les had a conversation with another industry associate. That associated needed Candice’s skill set to launch a new program. Candice flew out last Tuesday to interview for the position.

Both clients enjoyed the conversation with old friends. Both conversations, inadvertently led to career opportunities. Both interviews came about because of a casual conversation. Neither position was advertised. Both positions were “perfect” for the respective client. Albert and Candice were the first, and hopefully only candidates, interviewed. They entered the interview knowing their contacts “pre-sold” their skill set giving them an unsolicited, enthusiastic endorsement. Both opportunities emerged because of an effort to stay in touch.

Absolutely, plan your work, work your plan, attend networking events, keep your online presence clean and up-to-date. That’s all important too. But don’t forget to sit back. Sip some lemonade on the porch with a neighbor. Email an old friend. Connect. You never know where you’ll find that next opportunity. There … doesn’t networking sound like a bit more fun?

Career Collective

Here’s what my colleagues have to say:

5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa

Networking: Easy as 1, 2 , 3, @WorkWithIllness

How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell

Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal

A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni

Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which ‘Vert’ You Are, @erinkennedycprw

Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman

Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice

Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers

Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords

Networking: It’s a Way of Life, @WalterAkana

Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward

Networking: Why who you know doesn’t count, @Chandlee

Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bankruptcy Attorney, Forrest theMediaDude. Forrest theMediaDude said: A tale of two networkers | The Write Solution […]

  2. Gayle Howard says:

    Great article Dawn. If we didn’t call it networking we’d call it “being human”. The personal stories from both of your clients reinforce that just being human can work every bit as effectively as “to do” lists, notes, databases and spreadsheets (and it means more!)

  3. […] Out of Networking, @heathermundell Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which ‘Vert’ You Are, […]

  4. Dawn:
    I love the way you use stories! Super work! “Connect! You never know where you’ll find that next opportunity” has never been so true! While it is a race against the clock to find a job, some things just can’t be rushed or hurried along, like a good friendship. Enjoy the lemonade!

  5. Hi Dawn,

    Loved this post.

    This is what I tell my clients all the time.. you just never know who might be your next stepping stone! Your article reiterates that point perfectly. 🙂


  6. […] to look at networking from all perspectives and gain some powerful insights, start with my post here. ~ Dawn […]

  7. Puts a different perspective on networking when you relate back with two real client stories.


  8. Anne Landon says:

    I wanted to comment on your blog post–A Tale of Two Networkers and share two networking success stories from my students. Whitney, an accounting major, was on her way home for Easter break and stopped at a Sheetz to gas up and grab a snack. The lines were long and Whitney started a casual conversation with the man in front of her. She mentioned she was on her way home from college. He asked about her major and she said–financial accounting. He remarked that he was a partner in a regional firm in Baltimore. Whitney inquired about any opportunities for a summer intern. Long story short–Whitney was hired as a summer intern and after graduating in May was hired as a full-time staff accountant.

    Another young lady, Nicole, was in Thailand for a year after graduation and was struggling to find a job in the communication field when she returned. Nicole’s roommate was on a domestic flight and struck up a conversation with the woman seated next to her. The woman just happened to be HR Director for Time Warner in NYC. They talked about the company and the positions she recruited for. The roommate mentioned that Nicole would be a perfect candidate with her education and international experience and they exchanged contact information. As you may guess–Nicole is now happily employed as a Senior Analyst for Time Warner, Inc. in NYC.

  9. Wes Connie says:

    I had to read your post twice to get the full meaning of it. I appreciate reading what you have to say. It’s too bad that more people do not understand the benefits of coaching. Keep up the good work.

  10. Hello, Dawn…may I add a contribution?

    These are success stories of people who networked their way to new careers or jobs.

    I just found your great site…now I’m off to find you on Facebook and Twitter.

    • Dawn says:

      Janet –

      What a wonderful add to the personal stories of my own clients. We are not islands. We never know who holds the key to the next opportunity. Thanks for helping drive that point home. And thank you for taking time out of your day to visit AND share. Hear that? That’s the sound of both our networks expanding because we’ve started the connection here. It’s just that easy. 🙂

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