I have met many millennial junior, senior and post-graduate students who are so enthusiastic, capable and eager to throw themselves into the workforce. Juniors are anxious to land that summer internship and seniors and post-grads (as well as new alums) are singularly focused on finding a living-wages job. One expects that with such determination and drive our gatherings would be a lively discussion and sharing of networking experiences and ideas for developing industry mentors or employee referrals. (A recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY reported that candidates who are referred to the hiring manager are twice as likely to get an interview — the holy grail of the job hunt — with 40% more likely to be hired over other applicants — winning!)
Instead, dead air filled the room and the enthusiasm was replaced by tentative silence. What I discovered is that most millenials think that the invitation/acceptance of connecting or friending someone on LinkedIn or Facebook is all there is to ‘networking’. There seemed to be no recognition that the very term ‘networking’ defines exchange of information, in short, communication. What I saw in the room was anxiety and puzzlement.
Networking is fundamental to the art of getting a job. The silence was ultimately replaced with a question that was, apparently, common to the group: ‘But how do you network with someone in your network?’ So, I thought I would share a post I recently stumbled upon that attempts to answer that very question. Keeping in mind that it is one person’s opinion but I think that it is worthwhile to take it in and use it to introduce some self-awareness toward your next networking opportunity. In fact, it may take the anxiety out of networking.