Guest post by Hannah Morgan, the Career Sherpa
If you had a job and wanted to meet with someone, would they ask for your resume? Probably not. So why are people asking you for your resume? Is it because you confessed in your request for a meeting that you were job hunting? Is that really necessary? Really? If you are networking and people are asking you for your resume, let me suggest you are doing it all wrong!
Why Networking With a Resume A Bad Idea?
Any time you present your resume to someone, it sends the message “Hire Me! I am looking for a job.” Your state of employment (or unemployment) is a distraction from the main purpose of the meeting. You want the conversation to center around gaining information and idea-sharing. When you introduce the fact that you are job searching, the conversation often switches to pity, resume critique, or worse, they feel like they can’t help you because their company isn’t hiring, thereby cutting he conversation short. What you really want from them is information. You want the people you meet with to trust you and like you, and ultimately, refer you to new contacts to gain more insight. This is the true purpose for networking.
The First Thing You Need to Do…
Stop introducing yourself by saying you are in transition (or any other fancy term to indicate you are unemployed!) The fact that you are unemployed is important to you, not the person you are meeting with. Introduce this information later in the conversation. Your chances of securing a meeting are greater if the person feels like they have something to gain from the conversation. Being unemployed isn’t the only reason you are reaching out, nor should it be the first thing that comes out of your mouth.
You Are Networking to Acquire Information
Believe it or not, some people network all the time, even while employed. Conversations with people outside your company help you stay up to date on industry trends. You are “talking shop.” So what questions do you want answered? What personal insights would be valuable to you? Here are some non-job search related questions you may want to add to your repertoire:
- What are some changes you have noticed in [insert their line of work]?
- Have you tried implementing something new recently? How did that work for you and your team?
- Why do you think about… [cite industry news]
What Information Can You Share?
Think about the other people you have met with along your networking journey and the stories they have shared with you. And remember, you have learned some lessons along your career path. Listen for opportunities to share your experiences or what others have done, just as a consultant might do. You will be viewed as a conduit of information, a connector, an informed professional, and valuable. No resume required.
Just In Case…
To head off the request for a resume (it is doubtful this will happen if you aren’t telling people you are job seeking), provide your background by sharing a link to your LinkedIn profile. You may choose to put it in the confirmation email instead of your initial outreach depending on how well you know the person. You could say, “Just in case, I have included a link to my LinkedIn profile here…“ And have a business card and personal marketing plan on hand as well!