Adventures in Networking: Why This is Awkward

25 Sep

I apparently have a huge alumni network that I can access online (called MiddNet).  What are they there for?  Networking.  But why should I network with them?  And are there, say, any guidelines for what we should discuss?  Too bad there isn’t a special career-focused website that has all these answers.  Oh wait, no, nevermind, there’s TONS, including my school’s career section, which is where I pulled the following.

Why Network?

1. 60-80% of job seekers secure employment by using networking-generated references to uncover the “hidden job market.”

Guidelines for contacting MiddNet advisors:

1. MiddNet is NOT to be used to solicit employment or job openings, internships, housing, funds, sales or business opportunities. Do not ask Middnet volunteer advisors to find a job or internship for you, or to arrange a job interview for you.

2. MiddNet is to be used ONLY to seek advice and career information. It is appropriate to ask MiddNet advisors for advice on: networking strategies; strategies for how to conduct a job/internship search; information about a career field or industry area; or to request an informational (networking) interview.

And This Leads To…

Having internalized these contradictory facts and rules, my typical networking conversations tend to boil down to this:

“So how did you get your first job?’

“Through networking.”

(awkward pause in which you both contemplate the true purpose of this phone call)

“Um, and how did you do that?  I mean, what ‘strategies’ did you use?”

“Pretty much what you’re doing right now.”




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