June 9, 2009

Tuesday Tips: 5 Ways to Be a Better Networker

I’ve written a lot about how to network from the perspective of the job seeker.

Today, I’m going to look at the other side of the equation — how to be a good networking resource for those who are looking for a job.

If you are currently employed, odds are you have been receiving your fair share of phone calls and emails asking for help. But even if you are blessed with a good job, can you help everyone? Should you? And what’s the best way to help job seekers without spending your whole day on it?

Here are five tips to help you help the people in your professional network — without it becoming a full-time job.

1. Keep karma in mind
You may be busy with your own work deadlines, or perhaps you’re just not in the mood to field another call that doesn’t further your company’s bottom line, but you should. Why? Karma. By being helpful today, you are building up good favor for tomorrow. And who knows when you might need a little help of your own.

2. Keep it short
Some calls for help warrant an in-person meeting. But many of them can be handled over the phone — especially if you don’t know the individual personally. Schedule a phone meeting with a clear start and end time, so you can get back to work quickly.

3. Get to know the person
If you get a call from someone you don’t know personally, take a few minutes — whether in person or on the phone — to get to know them. Especially if you plan to refer them on to someone else for a possible job interview. After all, if they bumble the interview, you will look foolish, too.

4. Be prepared
If you find yourself fielding numerous calls for help, you may want to put together a packet of industry-specific resources. Even a list of the websites of relevant professional associations or the contact information for your field’s #1 head hunter could be a huge help to a young job seeker.

5. Remember the golden rule
Even if you can’t help the person on the other end of the line, your courteousness and kindness can still go along way. Gently let the person know that you can’t be of assistance at this time and be willing to accept a copy of their resume.

Do you have people coming to you for advice about their job search? What’s the best way you have helped someone recently?

Sign up for our newsletter!