No. 1 Myth About Networking

Networking frazzledThis is the second in a series. The first career "truth" that may not be so true was "Follow your passion."

It's become a truism that you can't find a job without face-to-face networking. I've become convinced that's a myth -- for a few reasons.

Yes, some of my clients have gotten all their jobs and otherwise boosted their careers thanks to networking. And they tend to be the people who are natural schmoozers online and off -- they love the process and embrace becoming LinkedIn Ninjas. Jobs seem to come to them.

But for some others, networking has been a waste of time. They go to meets-and-greets. They become LinkedIn ninjas. Yet they derive nothing that helps their career.

Still people have been hurt by networking. I'm one of them. No matter how much I try, I too often come off as too intense and a know-it-all. I interrupt too much, even though I know it's wrong. I think I do better writing and hopefully speaking to audiences.

The message: One size does not fit all. The mantra "Network, network, network" works only for some.

More:Top 5 Most Common Networking Mistakes

Here's how you might assess how much effort you should devote to networking. The more of these you answer yes, the more you might want to network:
  1. Does your career need networking, for example, if you're unemployed or are looking to move up or to another employer?
  2. To date, have you found that your networking has been worth the effort? The past is a reasonable predictor of the future.
  3. Do you enjoy networking?
  4. Even if you're good at networking and enjoy it, is that the wisest use of that time -- what otherwise could you be doing?
  5. Is your existing networking liberally laced with people who can help you? Building a network usually takes a long time. By the time you build one that nets you a job, you could be homeless.
Some job seekers do better by devoting most of their job search time simply to answering jobs ads, but taking the time to do it really well, to reveal their true strengths and weaknesses so that an employer will believe what they're writing and be able to assess whether there's a good match between the applicant and the job. So the message here: There are few black and white truths. Nuance is required. One size does not fit all.

So, moving forward, should you do more or less networking?

What is the secret of success? Watch the "AOL Jobs' Lunchtime Live" segment below for a suggestion:

Lunchtime Live- The Secret To Success Is Being Nice?

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