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The best way to job hunt is to network. But there are appropriate situations for networking, and situations where networking is disrespectful and may even backfire.
Networking, in the sense I mean it here, is a conversation in which you ask for advice or information to help you with a job hunt or career change. Itís a given that you never, ever, ask someone for a job during a networking interview. In my opinion, thatís not networking. Thatís imposing on a person.
But even when you are seeking information and advice, not asking for a job, itís important to do it the right way.
Never launch into a networking conversation at a holiday party, at the gym, the movies, a grocery store, in a restaurant, at a place of worship, or anytime a person is ďoff dutyĒ and just trying to relax.
Instead, contact a person in advance by phone, e-mail or letter, and ask directly if they would be willing to talk to you.
Or approach a person at a business or professional event to ask if you can ask for advice. Notice this is different than launching into your agenda at that very moment!
It boils down to being respectful of the people with whom youíd like to meet. If you approach them in a situation where they feel intruded on, you arenít likely to get much help and you run the risk of turning them off, permanently. Instead, ask for permission in advance to seek their advice.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)