Clients often tell me how much they hate networking. They don’t want to ask anyone to help them find a job. I agree with them for a very different reason. No one wants to be asked in such a direct way. I recommend that you start your networking campaign by identifying people who know your work and want to help you. This group can include relatives and friends. Try to meet with your network contacts for lunch or coffee in a space where you can be relaxed and have a conversation.
Start by explaining your situation and what you are looking for. If you are changing careers, be sure that you talk about how your new role will be related what you have done in the past. Now is the time to start networking. Begin with this question: “Based on your experiences with me, what advice would you give me in starting this job search?” Listen carefully and take notes. Some people will be slow to respond. Try to warm them up by asking follow up questions that remind them how they have worked with you or how they know about your skills.
If a network contact mentions a company or a person, then it is fair game to ask for a favor. Don’t start by pushing a resume. Find out if they know anyone at the company they’ve mentioned or if they would introduce you to the person they know. Remember that your contact is doing you a favor and try to follow their advice.
Networking is never easy, and it is often frustrating. At the same time, it is often the best way to have access to jobs that you will never find online. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you, but, at the same time, remember to help them. Networking is a two street, and – with a little luck – it can lead to a new job and better career.
Aljazeera America reports that McDonald’s has taken down a controversial website that offered “helpful” advice to low wage employees. In the recent past, the website has come under fire for advising employees to earn money selling things on E-Bay and how to tip a pool cleaner. The final straw hit close to home for the hamburger giant when the website, which is operated by a third party, told employees to stop eating fast food because it was unhealthy. Something tells me that the company responsible for that bit of wisdom no longer works for McDonald’s.
Rather than try to tell low wage workers how to live on less, companies like McDonald’s should be leaders in paying a living way. Would food cost more at the restaurant? It would. Would investors earn less on McDonald’s? Probably. Might franchise owners and corporate leaders need to take a pay cut? They would. Those are the costs. What about the benefits? Low wage workers would be pumping more into the economy. McDonald’s would be able to recruit better talent. Rather than give employees bad advice about how to live on less, it’s time to pay a living wage.