Remember the many levels of connecting….. I don't know about you, but I am getting a lot of requests from friends, colleagues and even just acquaintances who are looking for a job to meet for coffee and brainstorm on opportunities. At first, I felt very stressed about these meetings - and all the caffeine certainly didn't help! I thought that if I didn't go into these get-togethers with specific recommendations or leads on existing job opportunities I wouldn't be able to really help these people.
But as I went to these meetings, I remembered that one of the most powerful aspects of networking is the many layers that a good network has. What I mean by that is even if I am not able to provide a particular lead on a job or access into a company or industry, I probably know someone else that can. Or that contact might know someone who could help, and so one. The connection that may lead to a new job might happen two or three or four levels down the line, but chances are it will happen. And the person looking for that new position will be building their network in the meantime, which is always valuable.
The other thing to keep in mind is that sometimes people looking for new position just need someone to vent to, a shoulder to cry on, a friend or colleague to tell them everything will be okay and give them advice. They aren't always expecting you to show up with a list of current job openings, so don't let that stop you from meeting with them. You never know when or how you will be able to help them, or how they will be able to help you down the line. And believe me, if you take the time to support them with a brainstorming session in one of the most stressful times of their lives, they will be looking for ways to help you in return.
Marny Lifshen, Author "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women"
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