Monday, January 9, 2012

Are Your Networking Contacts In Danger?

"I think we should start seeing other people."

You've probably heard this line before if you've ever gone through a break up.  And if you have, you probably know what it really means: "I think I should start seeing other people, but you shouldn't."  Relationships are a tricky business.

Don't worry, this blog isn't turning into a dating advice column.  Relationship advice is actually very important for job seekers when dealing with networking contacts.  You have to pick and choose the individuals you connect with carefully, or else you could be in for a wild ride.  In his book "It's Not Just Who You Know," Tommy Spaulding, former CEO of Up With The People, talks about the potential pitfalls that can arise from relationships.  He offers some relationship warning signs that can easily be applied to your career networking:
  • Know when to say no.  If you get the feeling that the person you want to connect with has a bad personality or something along those lines, walk away.  It's not worth the trouble even if you think they could really help you.
  • Beware of relationship cancer.  This can be caused by jealousy or insecurity, and can pop up in any kind of relationship.  It is up to you to know situations where this is more likely.  For example, it might not be a good idea to make a networking contact with someone who is pursuing the same job as you.
  • Learn from critics, but don't become their slave.  Constructive criticism is important.  If your contact has some feedback for you, don't get defensive.  At the same time, you should also recognize if the feedback is coming from someone acting on their own agendas. 

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