How *NOT* To “Network”

There is a term for the most desirable candidate in recruiting, the "passive" candidate. This is someone that is happy in their job and not looking to move. The rationale is that if someone is happily employed, they are valuable and will make a positive contribution to a *new* organization. Believe it or not, this adage is still proving true in recruiting circles.

So, if recruiters are looking for those that are employed, and you are *unemployed* how do you make yourself look more desirable to potential employers?

First and foremost: do *not appear desperate*. All over the place I see social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc.) profiles that scream "I’m looking for a job as ZYW in Anytown USA."

OK, this is *totally* the wrong way to go about marketing yourself. First of all, this is a major turn-off for potential employers. If you are this unsubtle in the world of social media, how do you think they are going to look at you as a representative of the company? Uh huh. Not very professional and certainly someone that doesn’t understand the meaning of business "subtlety". It also shows that you don’t understand how to cultivate business relationships or make value-add connections.

Networking is about 1:1 personal relationships. It *is not* about trying to get yourself in front of as many people as humanly possible. That mentality is akin to the old "shooting fish in a barrell" concept.

It is crucial to use social media and networking tools effectively. This means being calm, cool, collected and professional in how you approach others. It is fine to let someone you are networking with to know that you are seeking new opportunties, be it by attrition or a RIF (Reduction In Force or layoff). But screaming it to all and sundry on the internet is the fastest way to lose face with those that could potentially help you. If you cannot market yourself in a way that is positive, why on earth would they want to pass your profile along to their colleague that is hiring? So do yourself a favor; spend the $25 to get a business license, set up shop as an independent business owner, and cultivate *clients*. Whether you do any actual work, as long as you appear to be doing something with your credentials and expertise you will come across as a professional.

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