Faux Pas #1 – Networking

Reputation is everything. We hear that over and over. It’s true. Yet there are certain behaviors that many of us are guilty of that tarnish our reputation. They seem like small things, but they’re not.

Take networking. Most of us know it’s crucial to a career, yet some people still don’t take it seriously.

Several people have blown my mind lately with their lackadaisical (and sometimes oblivious) approach to networking, especially if they are looking for a new position.

Let’s keep it simple. I’ll be writing about a series of faux pas’ over the next several weeks. Which faux pas have you committed lately? Here’s the first.

Faux Pas #1

SITUATION: You’ve had a tough few weeks. You’ve been on the job hunt for a few months with no progress – everything seems to have come to a screeching halt. Your good friend (Darren) is concerned, and emails a contact (Sarah) and asks if she will meet with you. Sarah has known Darren for a long time, so of course she says, “Sure”.

Darren initiates a virtual introduction through email. He feels good because this may get some momentum going for you. After all, Sarah is VP of Marketing for a global consumer goods company, and you are looking for a Director of Marketing role. She may be able to put you in touch with other people.

Darren sees Sarah at a party a couple of weeks later. She says, ‘Hey, I never heard from your friend, what’s up?’ Darren is caught off guard. “Gee, I thought he would have contacted you already, sorry about that.”

“No worries”, Sarah says, “I’m swamped at work anyway and I’m leaving for a business trip. I’ll be gone for a few weeks.”

REPUTATION: Alrighty then! Darren feels like a jerk after asking Sarah to do him a favor, and Sarah thinks you’re not really serious about your job search anyway so it’s no big deal to her. She’s got more important things to worry about.

You see Darren later the following week. He asks why you didn’t contact Sarah and you say, ‘Oh, I forgot all about it. I just haven’t gotten to it yet – too busy. Dam, I feel like I’m never going to land a job this time.’ Darren SAYS ‘No problem’, but what is he really thinking?

He’s THINKING, “How could you complain about not landing a job when you didn’t even take me up on a sure thing to meet with Sarah? I’ve know her for years and she is always willing to help. I try not to ask her for too many favors because I know she travels a lot and is under a lot of pressure at work. That’s the last time I hook you up with one of my contacts- you’re on your own.”

Oh, and Sarah? She found out just before she left for her business trip that her company just put a requisition in for a Marketing Director in a sister division. What do you think the chances are that she’ll tell Darren to let you know?

SUGGESTION: If someone sets you up through a direct introduction to network with someone from their circle, have the good sense and common courtesy to follow up within 48 hours. If you decide you aren’t going to follow up quickly, for god’s sake – inform your original contact!!

There may be hidden reasons why you didn’t follow up with Sarah quickly. If you are introverted, you may just need some time to prepare and muster up the emotional energy to meet with someone when you are already stressed. Still no excuse not to communicate appropriately with your original contact and save your reputation.

Note: @Wendy Gelberg wrote a book on the Introvert’s  job search… an article  in Forbes quotes her,



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