When you network during your job search, in my personal opinion, the best way to approach anyone – no matter what your relationship with them is – is to ask them for their opinion or expertise. This is because most of us find it enjoyable to be asked what our opinion is and most of us enjoy helping people. It’s these two things you must focus on when leveraging your network during your job search.
It’s not very effective to ask people for a job, ask if they know of any companies who are hiring, or ask if their company is hiring. First, not many people are aware of various companies that are hiring and most people will find this kind of question loaded with “pressure” – which causes them to back off rather than open up the conversation to brainstorming ways they might help you. Second, it places them as the leader in the conversation and you as the passive-receiver, which also creates pressure. There are other reasons that asking for a job does not work but these are two of the main ones.
Mentally, you need to approach networking the following ways:
- You must accept and understand how asking for information is going to benefit you. Have a basic understanding of networking and how it can work to propel your conversations. Give those you are speaking to a gracious opening to share confidential information with you about company growth or available jobs, without having to point blank ask them for it. Understand how you can easily ask your network to introduce you to others who might help you.