Written by Abby Kohut
A friend of mine gave me the idea for today's blog when she received an e-mail from a job seeker. The e-mail reminded us both that communication is everything when it comes to networking. Poor etiquette results in bad feelings whereas good etiquette results in positive reinforcement and therefore a continuation of the same behaviors occurring in the future.
Here is a quick rundown of several aspects of etiquette you'll encounter:
- Time Etiquette – Be respectful of the amount of time you are allocating for conversations. If you are referred or recommended to someone, ask them if they have a few minutes to speak with you rather than launching into a 15 minute monologue. At a networking event, do not spend too much time with any one person, especially if you already know them. Make an effort to meet several people at each event for a short amount of time and then schedule follow up meetings after the events with those where mutual interest is established.
- Feedback Etiquette - If someone refers or recommends you to someone, make every effort to keep them in the loop as the communications unfold. Your contacts will appreciate knowing that their advice or direction was helpful.
- Conversational Etiquette - At a networking event, do not monopolize the conversations. Make sure that you ask lots of questions and wait for the person to ask you for the same. Don't assume that everyone wants to know your entire life story.
- E-mail Etiquette – Make every attempt to say the two most underutilized words in the dictionary, according to me… thank you! If someone sends out a job lead and you decide to follow up on it, why not drop them a line to thank them for sharing it. It will encourage them to share more in the future.
- Gratitude Etiquette – If someone does something for you that helps your job search, even if it's only a small thing, thank them. If they help you with your resume, take time to share with you their work experience in a particular industry, or if they coach you through a situation, thank them by writing them a note, a recommendation on LinkedIn or a testimonial. These behaviors will encourage them to do similar things for others in your same situation.
Absolutely Abby’s Advice:
It's never too late to thank someone who helped you. In that vein, I hereby thank my high school English teachers for forcing me to do all of those rewrites. It's because of you that I can now find those persnickety little errors on people's resumes and how I developed my writing skills enough to blog every day. And thank you to all of the networking experts that I have met along the way that taught me all of the other components above. My heart goes out to each and every one of you! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!