Seven Reasons Your Networking is Not Working

When people approach me to help them find jobs, they are often frustrated that they’ve been trying to network but it hasn’t yielded any job leads. Typically when clients run into a networking challenge like this, it is for one of seven reasons.

Not enough prospective employers reached

Yes, networking takes time and energy, many times more than just simply firing off a job application. If you were looking for a job, you’d want to apply for at least 3 jobs a week, right? Well, having 3 networking calls isn’t the same because there is no guarantee there’s any opportunity. In order to generate three solid job leads a week, you have to reach 15 of your professional contacts. This can be through LinkedIn, email, phone calls, or coffee. Otherwise, the numbers simply aren’t high enough to yield strong results.

The reason for wanting to leave current employer is not seen as valid or logical.

Remember that someone in your network is putting their professional credibility on the line when they recommend you to a hiring manager at their company. If you got fired, say so. If you left things in a bad way at your prior job, say so. Otherwise they’ll see you’re lying, dismissively fib that they’ve passed on your resume to HR, and then do nothing. Don’t get creative, just be real with people.

Wrong time of the year to be looking for a job.

I tell my clients that the least opportune times are mid June through Labor Day, and then Thanksgiving to New Years. While these are great times to network face to face (holiday party, beach party) with your contacts, you’ve got to follow up when the job market is in full swing.

Because this is a network, some prior knowledge of the candidate is coloring the decision somehow.

Remember when you were at that Beer Pong game in Cancun in college on spring break and you met the investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse that you are now trying to convince to recommend you for the analyst program? Enough said.

Candidate is successful reaching his or her contact at target company but not able to get contact to refer him/her to the person who has authority or knowledge regarding the hiring process

Your contact may overestimate their leverage within a company, may not understand how to or have the time to present you to the hiring manager correctly, or may not even know the right person to refer you to. Before you enlist your contact, take a moment to figure out how effective they really can be given their current position, even if they are 100% onboard with doing all they can.

Something wrong with professional presentation.

Resume, LinkedIn, FaceBook are showing something that your network doesn’t like. It could be anything from a spelling error or grammar mistake on LinkedIn to your style of dress. Again, how you present yourself professionally is a reflection on them.

Talking to a person unwilling to help.

Some people are just plain altruistic and will help another person looking for a job. Maybe they’ve been there. Other people require reciprocity and are not willing to do another person a favor in the hopes that someday it will come back to them. But don’t get me wrong – they’ll put up a front that this isn’t the case while they’re talking to you. Nobody wants to be the wet blanket. So it’s on you. Try to gauge the level of willingness of your contact based upon what you know about them before you invest time in the conversation.