Ugh, networking. Sucks, right? Here's a common networking conversation I have with my clients:
Jolene Jobseeker: "It feels like I've been looking for a job forever. My resume is polished and I've submitted it to at least a hundred different online job postings. Crickets. What am I doing wrong?"
Coach Coverletter: "What is your networking strategy?"
Jolene Jobseeker: *Crickets*
Oh, Jolene, if you only knew how much I used to hate networking. In fact, I refused to do it. Not the traditional version, anyway. And the traditional version goes something like this:
Cocktail Mixer, super awkward, "Sorry, what was that? It's too loud!", anxiety attack
Chamber of Commerce, bad coffee, "What's that strange smell?", business card shuffle
Job Fair, bad coffee, hand sanitizer dispenser is empty, handshake hell
Baseball Game, I hate baseball, I can't believe he put ketchup on his Chicago dog, "How is this networking again?" night out
Jolene is an awesome person. I know that she'll work hard, learn anything, go the extra mile, and then go one more. But I know that because I've had the privilege of getting to know her. Her resume, even though it looks strong, doesn't introduce employers to her "awesome".
When I suggest networking to her, so people can get to know that awesomeness, she recoils. "I hate networking. It scares me. I'm an introvert. I don't like big groups or awkward meetings with strangers. I'd rather email a thousand resumes than go to a single Chamber of Cocktail Job Fair Game."