Monday, April 30, 2012

Networking: The Next Steps
This article in the Wall Street Journal confirms that the “informational interview” is alive and well, and a good source of information for people seeking entry into a specific field. It supplies an overview of how to go about getting one, and how long you should seek for your discussion. Also a strong plus: comments, warning would-be questioners to do their homework by reading up on information which is freely available on the internet before seeking an informational interview.

Another interesting take on networking: call someone you have not contacted recently for the information or networking connection. I guess it makes sense—someone you knew way back when might be more inclined to go out of his or her way to help if your friendship has gone dormant, and the other person is amenable to starting it back up again. Finally, it seems like a lot of workplaces are shifting to social media for getting work done inside a company. Thus your social media savvy is an effective networking tool for the work of job-hunting, but may also be a plus in the “skills” column for employers to consider when they think about how well you can do the job. People at work are communicating more and more through apps, and through websites designed to foster collaboration, co-editing and various kinds of communication. Take a look at this website from Daily Tekk -- — especially the categories “Mind mapping/vision boarding” and “People & project management/Team Collaboration.” There is lots of stuff out there, suggesting that a pretty large audience is buying into these different products with a structured approach to collaboration (beyond simply emailing and sharing a few documents in something like cloud storage).

Keep in mind that some activities, as this clip from the Harvard Business Review suggests, are less about networking than ego-casting. The article starts with a tale of a groom, standing up in front of the minister with his bride, who tweeted his “I do” rather than saying it aloud. The article contains some thoughtful discussion of why people sink to these new social behavioral lows—and thereby provides a checklist for your own activities. What is your motivation in networking? 

Note: The link to the Daily Tekk article was incorrectly posted above; I've corrected it 5/7/12

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