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Employment advice for job seekers.

July 21, 2014 at 9:04 AM

How to network your way into a job without looking desperate


By Marian Schembari /



You may realize that networking is the best path to your dream job. But are you doing it right?

Here’s a story about someone who gets it. Let’s say hello to Ginny.

Ginny emailed me a week ago. Her subject line was, “I think I love cupcakes more than you.” She got five points in my book right off the bat. See, on my blog’s About page, I talk about my cupcake addiction. So she clearly knew who I was and had read my blog, wrote a personal email to me (she didn’t copy and paste) and added a fun touch instead of trying too hard to be overly professional.

Ginny said she, too, was an American who had recently moved to New Zealand and was looking to getting into digital marketing/social media. She knew I was busy, but would I horribly mind meeting up to tell her a bit about my job and what I do?

Her email was short. Just four or five sentences. Another five bonus points. Because her email was so charming, I said yes. Plus, it’s rare you meet other Americans in New Zealand, so it was really a treat for me.

She got another five points by being flexible with her schedule. I said I was busy and could only meet Friday afternoon. I chose a cafe right next door to my office, and she didn’t complain about having to come to me. Instead, she researched the location, arrived early and offered to buy my coffee.

Then, she simply blew me away with her charm. She asked questions and talked about her experience as I told her a bit about my day-to-day activities. She was professional without being stuffy, and was clearly looking for a job, but never shoved her resume in my face or demanded an interview.

She was clearly and genuinely interested with my industry and listened to what I had to say. Add five points.

She didn’t keep me for more than an hour. She respected my time. Then, she ended by giving me a little gift. She brought me a cute notebook with a cupcake on the cover. Plus one million points.

The next day I woke up to an email from her thanking me for my time and telling me exactly how I helped. She puffed up my ego and made me feel good about myself without brown-nosing.

More often than not, people network like this: 1. Cold emails that get sent to anyone and everyone. 2. Expecting people have hours of time to devote to helping someone they’ve never met. 3. Sending through their resume before you even get to know them. 4. When you do help, they never thank you.

What kind of networker are you? Do you make these mistakes or do you really personalize the experience? I promise you 40,000 points that if you do it like Ginny, you’ll be just fine.

More in Resumes & Job Hunt | Topics: job hunt, networking


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