yo.jpgThere’s an endless amount of advice out there about networking for a job in this digital age, and I think that’s a good thing.

But so many job seekers are so focused on figuring out how to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, that they’re forgetting some networking basics like being thoughtful.

Social media and the Internet at large allows us to find people we believe can help us further our careers, but when you reach out do it with some sense. A tweet saying “hi” is nice but hitting someone up for networking help that way is a dicey undertaking.

I often get tweets or Facebook messages out of the blue, asking me for mentoring help or the name of a connection. Just by the nature of these cyber correspondences, the messages typically include little information about the person. I personally, would rather get an email first, so I know who you are and what you do.

Sometimes I’ll just check out some of the individual’s past tweets or postings on Facebook. If I see you dogging your boss, or dissing a coworker, I tend not to readily offer help.

Calling your boss a “bitch” or gloating about how you lied to a hiring manager, is probably a warning sign.

I’ve also noticed people asking for help in the public sphere instead of sending a private message. This puts undue pressure on the person you’re asking for help from, and it reflects poorly on you.

And the Web isn’t magic folks. The instant nature of the Internet doesn’t mean the people you are reaching out to will instantly respond.

A colleague of mine recently got an email from an aspiring writer asking for some mentoring. It was a great note, including just the right amount of kissing up. Alas, the aspiring writer blew it because she was clueless of networking 101 — being nice.

This is the email my colleague sent about the networking debacle:

“Woman sends me an email asking for advice for a career change - she got laid off from her job and now wants to go into food p.r. or something like that..She wants to meet for coffee and chat. Butters me up saying she likes my writing, etc. Wants my advice on what to do…

She sends me the email right before Labor Day, which, as you know, is always an extremely busy time, deadline speaking, because of the long holiday. Haven’t gotten back in touch with her yet, but I was planning on doing it either today or tomorrow, when I finally got ahead. I had no plans on blowing her off….”

Sounds good so far.

“Well, she leaves me a voice message today, sounding kind of pissy, and says that she still wants to meet and will I get back to her?

Uh, yeah. I really want to help you after you just left me a pissy-sounding voicemail.

Seriously. People just hurt themselves sometimes….”

She had email etiquette down, but something happened on the way to the telephone.

It’s not surprising given how much we love our email and texting today.

Lots of studies are finding that younger folks would rather text message than have to deal with people face to face or over the phone.

Unfortunately, you often need the phone, or face-to-face interactions to seal the deal.

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