One of the bigger problems I see with job seekers is that they don’t know how to get networking introductions.
On LinkedIn, Hunter Walk wrote this article: Why Most VCs Won’t Intro You To Other VCs (Unless You Follow These Steps). He wrote it for entrepreneurs looking for money from VCs, but every single point he makes is something a job seeker should understand and internalize. In my own words (read his post here):
- Do your work upfront! Too many job seekers have very vague requests for help. Most vague requests are about as helpful as this: “I’m looking for a job.” Geesh! Can you tell me ANYTHING about you, what you’re looking for, what you want to do, etc.? I can’t help you if I don’t know if you want to be a lifeguard at the local rec center, or a CEO of a multi-national company! When you do your homework, you’ll know how I might be able to help you… and you’ll be able to have a better conversation. Ignore this at your own peril (or, extended job search).
- DO NOT name drop… without permission. Hunter is kind of a big deal… and I’m sure has this happen all the time. If someone didn’t say “tell them I sent you,” then DON’T TELL THEM THEY SENT YOU! You can say “oh yeah, I know Jason…. I just read his blog post and ….” But don’t say “Jason sent you.” You will ruin your credibility and likely come across as a liar, perhaps ruining two relationships with one unfortunate white lie.
- Don’t ask your contact for too much. If you want an introduction, make it super-easy for your contact to facilitate the introduction. This means you write something they could forward… why the introduction is happening, etc. Make it easy for them to forward something without thinking too much.
- Follow-up with the person who made the introduction for you. It’s critical that you do this, if you want to improve relationships and get more introductions. When someone follows-up with me, no matter how good the meeting went (even if it didn’t happen), I can trust that the person I’m introducing will respect my contacts. I want to help more. If I don’t know what you are doing with my introductions, I am not inclined to give you more.
- Keep the person posted about what’s going on. If you trust someone enough to ask for an introduction, and they trust you enough to do the introduction, why not keep them abreast of what’s going on, even outside of that introduction? Keep them posted perhaps monthly or quarterly…. stay on their radar. I wrote about this using a job seeker newsletter, which is a monthly email that I personally think every job seeker should have.
Too many people want to finish the job search and never, ever do it again. But the truth is, we will do it again… regularly. We need to figure out how to make this type of stuff be part of our DNA… how we work, how we communicate, etc. Whether you are looking for a job, funding, or customers, this is basic communication and networking stuff we need to internalize.