Recently, Eileen Habelow, Senior Vice President of organizational development for Ranstad (second largest HR and staffing firm in the world) presented what she calls “old school” tools for networking. I don’t know, I’m probably being sensitive, but I’d like to think these networking tools are to our careers what French sauce making is to food. It simply works no matter when the technique was developed.
The luscious thing about looking at “old school” and “new school” is that it expands our toolkit. I like having more tools to help me achieve my career goals. How about you? I also like her explanation of why these old school networking tools help. I’d like to lay out both sets of tools and share some of the logic around both.
Your Personal Information Sharing
Old school = Business card. Eileen Habelow: “A business card helps a new acquaintance remember your name and work credentials; and it provides them with easily accessible contact information. Unless you have your email and phone number listed publically on your profile page, your new contact can only message you to get in touch. Take the hassle out of making new acquaintances. Be professional and make the connection by also sharing a business card whenever possible”.
New school = Linked In profile or Facebook. Using social media is becoming increasingly important for all career phases from job search through career growth. These mediums allow you to track people or locate them like never before. Ensuring previous relationships can be rekindled and capitalized on. By setting up accounts and profiles you can now be “found” in talent search across the internet, making your information online very valuable.
Clearly, both schools have merit and cover different aspects of making new acquaintances, as well as maintaining existing ones.
Participating in Events
Old school = Newsletters, mailing lists and talking. Eileen Habelow: “Talk to friends, coworkers and family members to find out about networking opportunities that you otherwise may not know about. Register for e-newsletters, mailing lists and listservs through local nonprofit, alumni organizations and museum websites. Limiting your events to only those on your social media network limits the type of people you meet.”
New school = Meetup, Linked In or Facebook Events. There are a number of online, social media tools that allow like-minded people to organize, plan and execute group activities without leaving the comfort of their home. If you are expanding your network, you will want to refer to both online and offline methods, because most groups choose to notify by only 1 medium. You have to cover all your bases to ensure you know what is taking place.
Interacting with Others
Old school = Personal interactions. Eileen Habelow: “Remember that some of the most memorable and valuable interactions occur face-to-face. Once you have made that e-connection, pursue a personal interaction whenever possible. If you cannot meet in-person, arrange a time to speak via video chat or Skype – putting a face with a name is invaluable and technology can help! If you are unsure about a certain method of contact, seek out the advice of a mentor or someone who knows the person you are contacting.”
New school = Texting, IMing, emailing. There are numerous ways to interact with others these days and texting seems to be the communication mode of choice. The most important thing to remember about communication when it comes to your career is: “It’s not about you”. Be aware of the communication tool of your recipient and what will work best for them. If you don’t know, ask. Also, be aware that the more ways you communicate, the more things you will have to check on a consistent basis. It is always unprofessional to let email, voicemails, texts or whatever sit for more than 1 or 2 days without a response.
YOU are way more interesting and compelling than anything your electronics can produce; so develop a skill set for personalizing your important communications.
The new school and old school methods for networking are different and yet complementary to each other. I think it makes no difference whether you are solidly parked in old school or new school, but you will be more successful overall if you can master and use them both.
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a Career Coach and expert on helping her clients achieve their goals. Her programs cover: Career growth and enhancement, Career Change, Retirement Alternatives and Job Search Strategy. Want to discover specific career change strategies that get results? Discover how by claiming your FREE gift, Career Makeover Toolkit at: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com