Why Networking is a Lot Like Dating: Let’s Go Steady

So, many of my clients have heard that net­working leads to a job, but still many of them don’t under­stand how. My last four posts got down to the nitty gritty of net­working and how the eti­quette is sim­ilar to dating some­body new or making a new friend. So what hap­pens next? Some­times some­thing great and some­times nothing comes from it. Sim­i­larly, you go on a couple dates, and ini­tially it’s great and then it kind of fiz­zles over time. So why do all this work if there’s a pos­si­bility that nothing hap­pens? Because, like dating, it’s a nec­es­sary evil to secure some­thing long term.

So what hap­pens when it does lead to a job, what does that look like? It can take many forms and you could be the ini­tiator or you con­tact could, but it’s always ben­e­fi­cial to be proac­tive. After that ini­tial con­ver­sa­tion or two, keep checking the com­pany web­site and reach out when you see some­thing that you’re inter­ested in. You can frame you lan­guage to sound some­thing like:

Hi Amelia, I hope all is well with you. You gave me some great advice and insight a few months back and as you instructed I’ve been checking the com­pany web­site every few days looking for entry level posi­tions that fit my experience.

Some­thing just opened up in auditing and I was writing to see if you had any insight on the posi­tion or could con­nect me with some­body who did. I am eager to get my appli­ca­tion in, but I want to make sure I’m an attrac­tive can­di­date. Thank you for your help.”

Amelia will hope­fully write back with some advice and say that she’ll “put in a good word for you”. This gen­er­ally (not always) guar­an­tees that the hiring man­ager will at least give your appli­ca­tion a closer look. You’re one step closer to “going steady” with that com­pany. It’s impor­tant to rec­og­nize that despite all your net­working, the job may just not be a good fit for you, but at least you got a shot. In many cases how­ever, it tips the scale greatly in your favor.

The best case sce­nario is that you’ve been keeping in touch with your net­work and a con­tact sees a posi­tion that, based on your con­ver­sa­tions seems like a great fit, and reaches out encour­aging you to apply. This will almost always get you an inter­view because it is safe to assume that you con­tact already sang you praises to the hiring manager.

Regard­less of the sce­nario– the ben­e­fits to net­working far out­weigh the cons and the under­stand­able “uncom­fort­able” feeling that comes with the process. Even if you don’t con­sider your­self a dating con­nois­seur, I’m con­fi­dent you can master the simple rules of net­working etiquette.

Kelly Scott is Assis­tant Director of Career Devel­op­ment and Social Media Out­reach at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity. A social media enthu­siast and Gen Y, she enjoys writing about work­place cul­ture and per­sonal online branding. For more career insight, follow/​tweet her at @kellydscott4.

Image source: etsy​.com