March 14, 2011
Just because we just met, doesn't mean I want your resume
It's scary, but true that when I meet people at networking events they often say, "Hey, here is a copy of my resume. If you see any leads or are hiring yourself, please consider me."
We just met. I don't trust you with my contacts or leads. I don't even know you yet.
It's unfortunate that many job seekers display desperate job-seeking behavior in the marketplace. It's not really their fault. No one is teaching them the proper etiquette for building relationships. They're bombarded with training from agencies, career coaches and outplacement consultants who are teaching decade-old information on how to find a job.
First of all, times are different. Second, we live in Seattle. In Seattle, you can't expect that people who just met you want your resume and are willing to open up their Rolodex of contacts for you.
Another reason job-seekers display this behavior is because they see it happen at most networking events. So many events in town are filled with desperate salespeople looking for prospects or clients. Chambers of commerce host paid events where they charge members to sit at a table and go around one-by-one elevator-pitching each other before moving to the next table. What do you think happens to those business cards that evening?
Most end up in the trash, simply because there were no meaningful conversations that took place and the attendees weren't interested in each others' products and services. (You are actually lucky if your card ends up in the trash, because in some cases, you're automatically enrolled in a hard-to-unsubscribe mailing list or newsletter.)
Does it sound like I'm venting? OK, maybe a little. What I'm really trying to do is make sure you don't fall into this category, because you'll fail to see the many benefits true relationship-building can provide you.
Think about this for a second. How many people do you think go to networking events to collect your resume? Probably none, right? Save your money, pride and the planet, and go focus on what really brings people to these events instead.
Find out what they're interested in. Find out about their goals, passions and interests. Seek to understand their challenges and where their greatest needs are. Use this information to connect to them and make a meaningful impression. Once you like people and genuinely try to help them, they'll like you back and want to help you, too.
At the point when they say, "I really appreciate what you've done for me. Is there anything you need?" that's when you can show them your resume and ask for their guidance, help or advice.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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