A few days ago I was talking with one of my favorite clients (if you’re reading this, you’re also my favorite) about her job search. We’ll call her Sherri. Sherri mentioned a former boss that she loved working for, and wished she could find another working relationship like that. I asked Sherri when she last spoke with this manager; she admitted they hadn’t spoken since Sherri left that job.
Considering the title of this post, I’m sure you see where this is going.
Her ‘homework’ this week is to reconnect with this manager via LinkedIn. Why? Maybe there’s a timely opening in this manager’s department. Perhaps this manager knows of opportunities with other companies.
But forget job leads for a moment. I’m sure this manager can offer Sherri career advice, or just be another important advocate in Sherri’s corner. Before I could get any of these reasons out, Sherri audibly balked at the thought of making contact with someone who she hasn’t talked to in a few years. My response? “It’s not scary, it’s just networking.” I used the same tone a parent uses when a kid falls down, and the parent wants to convince the kid she isn’t hurt. I know that many people…probably the majority of people, think networking IS scary. That’s why I’m acclimating Sherri by having her start with people who she truly likes and respects. That way, if she does ‘fall down’ (which she won’t), she won’t be hurt. The conversation she has with her former manager will be genuine, and possibly even easy.
And I’m really hoping that in a few weeks, Sherri will be the one to say, “it’s not scary, it’s just networking!”