Do This, Not That for Networking Success

June 2, 2010 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

So much can be said about networking and much of it is important, as that is truly how many people discover openings and land jobs these days. Yet networking is often derided as being little more than “schmoozing” or working the cocktail party circuit — something you either like or despise.

Hiring experts, however, argue that networking is more akin to strategic planning — though in this case the planning involves people and getting to know them to advance your career pursuits. Good networkers (see April 26 post, “How to network with the well-networked”) recognize this, and take networking as seriously as they do other career development strategies and techniques. Every potential contact is a possible open door that could lead to a job offer down the road — and what good networkers have in common is that they are constantly finding ways to open more of those doors.

So, borrowing a page from the diet and fashion bibles (“eat this, not that” or “wear this, not that”) here are some “do this, not that” tips for networking success:

*Give, don’t just look to receive. Those who show up wanting a job lead, a contact in an organization, an online introduction or a recommendation will get it much more often if they are known for providing those leads, contacts and introductions to others. If you routinely take but don’t give, you may be given a few crumbs once in a while but you won’t establish an effective network in the long run. And if you think you don’t have time to help others with their careers, think again — others will write you off their list and won’t be there when you ask. Provide information, contacts and advice to others, and they are much more likely to be there for you. Everyone has knowledge about their specific field that’s useful — share the wealth.

*Regularly enhance your network; don’t try to tap it only at job-hunting time. Again, this takes more time and energy than the “hit-and-run” approach to networking, but if you’re serious about building an effective network, it’s necessary. It’s pretty clear to others that you’re getting in touch only when you need something, and you’ll quickly be labeled as a “user.”  Conversely, if you’re in touch with a wide variety of people regularly and expand your network when you don’t necessarily need it, it will be there for you when you do.

*Listen, don’t only talk about yourself in networking situations. This is also good advice for informational interviews. Often, we’re so busy trying to impress the other person and think of the next clever thing that we’ll say, that we miss important points — and context — in what the other person is saying. And in networking, you could miss some important clues they’re giving you about job leads and contacts, and how else they may be helpful in your career pursuits. Practice active listening — it can pay big dividends.

*Figure that others are busy, too; try to avoid “taking it personally” when someone doesn’t get back to you right away. Email inboxes fill up quickly these days. Sometimes people don’t get back to you because they skipped over your email, or they meant to respond and then life moved on. So figure that if you don’t hear back from someone for a few days or a week that it’s okay to politely reach out to them again, especially if this is an ongoing email conversation. Seek to determine how they want to communicate (some people never check their Facebook private messages, for instance, while others prefer to be in touch that way) and then stay in touch — offering information whenever possible that will give them a “payback” for reading your email. If they brush you off completely after a few tries, then maybe it is you. But don’t presume that right off — and remember, when you’re job hunting, your timetable is very rarely the same as others’ timetables. Be patient and politely persistent when networking.

*A note of congratulations accompanied by a job-hunting tale: Congrats to Gayle Putrich, who is leaving Washington and heading to London for a “dream job” to be the unmanned and spaceflight editor at Flight International, the world’s oldest continually operating aviation magazine (owned by Reed Publishing). Gayle had been free-lancing when she was offered a position this past spring covering federal contracting for the Washington Business Journal in Arlington. She was excited to get the job and was enjoying WBJ. But then, just weeks later, “out of nowhere came an unsolicited offer for what is pretty close to my dream job” — at Flight International. At first she said she couldn’t discuss it as she had just started a new job. But then, she says, “the offer just kept getting better — to the point where I couldn’t say no.” Gayle acknowledges that it’s awkward to leave a job after only six weeks or so and has nothing but good things to say about the people at WBJ, but says that if she turned down the job in London it would be “something I would regret for the rest of my life.”

A few thoughts about this tale: Opportunities sometimes come when we least expect them. Also, life — and one’s career — can be messy, and sometimes requires you to make decisions that aren’t neat and tidy. Thanks to Gayle for sharing her tale as it provides food for thought, and best of luck to her in London! (Also, in the job leads part of this posting below, check out the opening at the Washington Business Journal that her departure is creating.)

*As always, a variety of fresh leads to check out:

*Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a political consulting and public opinion research firm, has an opening in D.C. for a director of marketing and communications:
Director of Marketing and Communications
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research – Washington, DC
of Marketing and Communications is responsible for… Must have outstanding writing, editing, and communication skills. • Must be able to demonstrate…
From Democratic GAIN

*TMG (The Magazine Group) in D.C. is looking for a digital director:
Digital Director
tmg – Washington, DC
demonstrated experience in new media and digital communications plus a thorough understanding of on-line… oral and written communications skills. Bachelor’s…
From tmg

*For someone with the right skills who is perhaps transitioning from broadcast journalism, Swank Audio Visuals in D.C. is looking for an audio visual director of operations:

Audio Visual Director of Operations
Swank Audio Visuals – Washington, DC
latest audio visual equipment, as well as, excellent organizational and communication skills is necessary. A Bachelor’s degree is preferred. As part of our top…
From Swank Audio Visuals

*The Pew Prescription Project, part of the Pew Charitable Trusts in D.C., has an opening for a director:

Director, Pew Prescription Project
The Pew Charitable Trusts – Washington, DC
engaging in public communications to contribute to… Work with Pew’s Communications staff to ensure appropriate communications strategies are developed and…
From The Pew Charitable Trusts

*This federal job may be right for someone with knowledge of agriculture (perhaps someone who covered the ag beat at some point?) — the Agricultural Marketing Service in the Agriculture Department in D.C. has an opening for an education specialist:

Education Specialist
Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service – Washington, DC
of eligibles. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should… $89,033 – $115,742 a year

*The Hunt Alternatives Fund: Institute for Inclusive Security in D.C. has several openings, including for an operations manager, special projects assistant and advocate and congressional liaison. The job descriptions follow:

*Aviation Week in D.C., part of McGraw-Hill,  has an opening for a defense database manager/analyst:

You know data. And you know military affairs. You’re inquisitive, and don’t settle for pat answers. You want to dig deeper and understand what’s behind procurement trends, contract awards, re-programmings, and legislative markups. You know how to find open-source data and how to use it once you find it. And you’re ready to work for the world’s leader in aviation and aerospace publishing. If you have at least five years’ analytical data experience, know your way around databases and data tools (especially Oracle and Excel), can translate business needs into workable data-collection strategies, can write your findings in a compelling way, and have working knowledge of the aerospace industry, procurement and contracting, we want to talk to you. We offer a competitive salary, a stable company, a positive working environment and some of the best benefits programs anywhere in corporate America. For more information on this Washington, DC-based opportunity, please contact recruiter Unza Postell at Aviation Week is a business of The McGraw-Hill Companies. We are an equal-opportunity employer.

*Here’s that lead mentioned earlier — the Washington Business Journal has an opening in its Arlington (Rosslyn) office for a reporter to cover federal contracting:

The Washington Business Journal, the only newspaper in Washington dedicated to local business coverage, is looking for an experienced reporter to cover federal contracting, a premier beat. Previous experience covering the federal government and the companies that serve it is a major plus. You will write breaking news for the web as well as news and feature stories for the weekly print edition. We are a close-knit newsroom in Rosslyn, and we offer a great salary and benefits package. Send a cover letter, resume and three clips to Managing Editor Elizabeth Drachman,

*And to wrap up today’s leads, Thomson-Reuters has an opening in D.C. for a senior economic policy correspondent:

Thomson Reuters is seeking an experienced journalist to help lead our economics reporting from Washington DC and raise our profile. The ideal candidate would be able to break news, as well as write distinctive and insightful stories that take readers behind-the-scenes and paint the big picture. We are looking for someone who can cultivate sources from the White House to the Treasury and on Capitol Hill to make sure we are ahead of the curve on the big economic policy stories, from action to regulate the financial industry, to steps to tackle the budget deficit and efforts to get China to drop its currency peg. Freed from much of the daily spot news, this person would have time to think ahead and cultivate contacts, and time to work with our Enterprise team on longer, initiative stories. The ideal candidate would also be comfortable on camera, and be able to appear on broadcast television and on our Insider financial television product.

We are looking for a self-starter with plenty of initiative, great writing skills and a track record of breaking news.  We need someone who has a strong analytical mind and can explain complex issues to our clients with clarity. An existing network of contacts in Washington would be an advantage but is not essential for the right candidate.


  • Bachelors Degree

Required Skills

  • A track record of breaking news.
  • Good news judgement.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Ability to generate smart and incisive story ideas and to look beyond immediate developments to wider implications.

Ability to work well with others.  Please apply online at:

Happy hunting!



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How to Target Your Job Search Who to Look to For Support in a Job Hunt

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