By Kate Wendleton
Five O’Clock Clubbers have always been generous with their time and insight. We appreciate the help members give each other. Without this help, many Five O’Clock Clubbers would have to start from scratch to research the industries and fields they are targeting.
However, a lot of people who are new to the Club do not know how to network. They plunge right in, make contacts (via our LinkedIn group), but end up harming whatever relationships they might have had.
Before You Begin
Before you begin networking, there are three things you must do:
- Wait until you have been with the Club for at least four group meetings before contacting other members.
- Make sure you have mastered your Two-Minute Pitch by practicing it in your small group.
- Role-play a networking meeting in your small group. Chances are, at first you’ll unintentionally make the other person uncomfortable. Try it again until you are more polished.
Those Clubbers who are having trouble with job search and feel desperate are more likely to network incorrectly. As one anxious Five O’Clock Clubber said, “I could recite the dos, but really didn’t understand the don’ts of networking.” For example, an anxious job-hunter may tend to come on too strongly with networking contacts. But you don’t want to pressure people who are already inclined to help you.
Contacting Those New to Their Jobs
Also be aware that many Five O’Clock clubbers have recently started new jobs. Linda Izard, a Five O’Clock Clubber, has this advice when contacting these people: “Please be considerate. New employees have issues. For example, I’m still trying to have things on my computer fixed, get my paycheck direct-deposited, and navigate the organization as I take on new projects.
“My company is huge, so please don’t be too disappointed if you call and I cannot give you exactly what you want—or if I do not let you use my name right now. I do not yet know that many people, and I am still a relative unknown. If I send too many networkers around my company, I do not know how my contacts will react.
I want to help, but I need a bit more time. In general, networkers don’t understand this. I know how hard it is to network and look for a job. But badgering a new employee is not a good idea…I am still finding my way.
“The right job will come along for everyone in the Club. However, you can be a persistent networker and still be courteous and professional. I have yet to hear someone ask, ‘May I call you in a month or two?’ But that’s the proper response when someone can’t help you right now.”
Networking with Other Clubbers
When you network with other Five O’Clock Clubbers, show them even more courtesy and consideration than you would someone outside the Club. After all, this is a club, and you are trying to form lifelong relationships—just like the members of the original Five O’Clock Club. Like any inner circle, word spreads quickly about other members. Here are a few additional suggestions:
- Remember to operate on the time frame of the person you’re contacting, not yours. Club members have made comments such as, “He expected me to drop everything and talk to him right away even though I said I was busy.” If someone can’t see you for a month, get on his or her calendar a month from now.
- Prepare for your meeting. “She was totally unprepared. I could have given her so much more information if she had done some research first.”
- Follow up on every lead. If a fellow member gives you a lead and offers to make a call on your behalf, it is very important that you follow up. Otherwise you make your fellow member look bad.
- Let Club members know what happened with the contacts or information they gave you. They have given you the names of people who are important to them.
- And be sure to formally thank Club members for their time. Don’t take anyone for granted.
Your polite behavior will assure that fellow Five O’Clock Clubbers will continue to be open with each other—and we will have each other to depend on in the future.
Any member who has attended at least four group meetings (so we’re sure you know how to network) may take advantage of networking with 1,000 other 5OCC alumni by logging onto www.linkedin.com.
- Sign in or join.
- The menu on the left of the page has “home” followed by “groups.” Click on “groups.”
- At the top of the Groups page, there are tabs. The second one says “Groups Directory.”
- On the right-hand side, it says, “Search Groups.” Enter “Five O’Clock Club