The Golden Rules of Networking

Even when they're convinced of the invaluable benefits of networking, PIT members often doubt their ability to build a network of contacts through informational interviewing. At the outset, they claim they're not friendly, gregarious, or aggressive enough to win the support of strangers who might be in a position to help them. But once they try it for themselves, they realize that informational interviewing works as long as they follow the Golden Rules of Networking which are:

  1. Never ask networking contacts for a job.
  2. Never expect networking contacts to have a job for you.
  3. Never expect networking contacts to know of a job that would be right for you.
As I tell PIT members, if you want to win job-hunting allies, you have to network with integrity. Your primary task is to:
  • Establish rapport during your informational interview.
  • Demonstrate a sincere desire to learn more about your contacts personal career track.
  • Ultimately learn how your qualifications generally might fit into your contacts chosen industry.
  • If you approach networking honestly and with a willingness to listen and learn, you will go a long way toward building allies who can help you in your job search and beyond.
Informational interviewing is not a game, and if, at any point, you break any of the Golden Rules of Networking, then you might as well stop the process. The game is up.
  • By violating the trust of your contacts, you've compromised everyone in the network - the person you've affronted the person who referred you to that person, and the person who referred you to that person. ¬∑ You have been given the privilege of having doors opened by others who have allowed you to use their good name to make a contact.
  • Nothing shuts an informational interview down quicker than if the contact senses that you have taken their time under false pretenses.

Networking with integrity is vital for your career success and a skill once learned, can be effectively applied long after you return to work. Don't forfeit your right to ask network members for their future support by adhering to the Golden Rules.

©Copyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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