The most recognized reason for networking is that it increases your contacts geometrically. Especially for folks who are unemployed, it is often touted as the most effective method of finding the next fit.
The concept is that everyone you approach, while probably not personally in control of a job that would interest you, can at least refer you to several additional people. And each of those can send you to several more. If each person only passed you along to one further person, your progress would be linear. Each Networking visit leads to multiple further visits, so your progress is ordered.
Let’s look at both sides.
The Pros of Face-to-Face, Local Networking
- More people meet and know about you. Your finite circle of acquaintances expands infinitely.
- People who want to help can help. Only one hard-to-find person will provide your ideal job, but everyone can suggest additional people to see.
- There’s high impact in a face-to-face visit. There’s more power and impact than when blasting off a resume or sending email, text and or social media reach-out.
- It’s a process you can initiate. Rather than passively waiting for a recruiter’s call, you can be as active as your time and energy allow.
- The job you find probably won’t require relocation. Local visits lead you toward local jobs.
As appealing as its benefits are, classic local networking also has some potential drawbacks.
The Cons of Face-to-Face, Local Networking
- It’s time-consuming. Making and keeping networking appointments is slow, laborious work.
- There’s risked confidentiality. It’s challenging to dive into networking without making your intentions public.
- You reach relatively few people. You’re doing well if you make and keep two or three appointments per day – not enough to survey the overall employment marketplace very quickly.
- Asking for favors from strangers isn’t easy. Asking for help from friends is hard enough; pursuing other people’s friends is tougher still.
- Focus is random and local. If you want to scour the nation for jobs in a particular field, a series of random local visits isn’t the best way to do it.
At its best, face-to-face, local networking is personal contacts. The big difference is that you’re not limited to the few people you already know.
At its worst, networking is like dealing with personal contacts on a mass-production basis, with much of the “personal” removed. Where on the spectrum you position your own version of this highly individualistic method is entirely up to you.
In all its shapes, networking remains the single most powerful job-transition tool, so it’s worthwhile to learn to use it effectively. And to plan for possible challenges or snares.
I always love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below.