One of my outplacement candidates shared a story with me recently. She had gone to a local networking event for job seekers. She got to meet almost everyone, but missed one guy. However, the job search group handed out copies of all attendees' contact info. So, my candidate looked up the one guy she didn't get to meet and invited him to connect with her on LinkedIn. She did it the right way-referenced where she got his info, told him why she wanted to connect, and also shared that she might have a strong job lead for him. So what does this guy respond with? That he is unwilling to connect with her until they can meet face to face.
Here was an opportunity to forge a relationship with someone who is local, had best of intentions, is just nice as can be, and oh by the way-could get him in touch with a hiring manager within a day and he turned it down? I just don't get it.
I mean-I get the idea of not connecting with weird and random people that you have no connections with. I'm an open networker, but if I get a connection invitation that hasn't been customized and I can see no commonality with that person by looking at their profile, I ignore the invite. If you can't take the time to write me a note, I'm not sure what I can get out of that relationship. However, my outplacement candidate did everything right and was still turned down. I'm sure to the guy in question, he's thinking that the opportunity she was offering would still be there once they met in person. To which I would reply hahahahahahahaha! When you make it more challenging, demanding, and difficult for someone to network with you-and ultimately help you, that has a direct bearing on their willingness to help you.
Beyond just making it more challenging for people to network with you, I think it also sends a message about your ability to grasp new ideas. Social or online networking is huge people. And it's not going away. And it's not just for our kids and grandkids. Let's think about this again for a moment-400 million active users on Facebook, 60 million active users on LinkedIn, and 18 million active users on Twitter. And you really still think that you have to do all networking only in person? Could be construed as "old school" thinking, especially for those who embrace and utilize this as their primary means of networking...but I think you get the point.
So, let me bottom line it here...don't feel like you have to be open to invitations from every spam artist on the planet. However, when someone has taken the time to write you a personal note, asking you to connect, and offering to help you further your goals, please think long and hard before you blow them off or turn them down. Still drive your networking efforts online AND in person. However, remember that there will be professionals that you will miss networking with if you don't meet them where they are-be it in person or online. Good luck and happy hunting!
Michelle currently serves as a Job Search coach helping professionals make the leap from looking to landed. In addition to her time spent coaching individuals, she delivers a variety of training sessions from Social Networking, Working with Recruiters, Online Resume Posting, and Interview Prep.
Michelle possesses over 15 years of diverse experience in functional areas such as recruiting, human resources, coaching, training, organizational development, staffing, sales, sales management, retail, and banking/finance.
Prior to working as a job search coach, Michelle made her career in the Placement industry working most recently for one of the largest Staffing Companies in the world. For this multi-national organization, Michelle served as an Agency Recruiter, Corporate Recruiter, Senior HR Manager, and Area Vice President. During her tenure with this organization, Michelle was also tasked with various Organizational Development programs including the creation of a company wide Career Progression Program. Michelle also served on the three person team that introduced a new “Gen Y” based hiring model that included a greater emphasis on college recruiting/branding and internships. As a result of this experience, Michelle considers her greatest strengths to be talent identification/retention, talent development, and coaching for performance improvement.
In addition to these areas of expertise, Michelle is rapidly growing her knowledge base around Social Media and Web 2.0 as it relates to the work world. She writes a regular blog on job searching that can be found at: https://hireme.typepad.com/michellemorettini/. Want to connect to Michelle?
Send her an invitation on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellemorettini.
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