One of my dear friends is a master networker. He’s one of those people who knows everyone and everyone knows and respects him. Because of that, he is highly sought after for mentoring, advice, job leads and introductions to his vast network.
I see myself as a smaller version of my friend, and we both have the same problem — a lack of etiquette from the people who reach out to connect with us. Here are three situations that are sure-fire career etiquette fails.
- A virtual introductions without warning. I’m always interested in meeting new people. But if you want to introduce me to someone, please let me know in advance and explain why you want to make the introduction. Don’t just send an email and say something like “Hey! I think you two should meet” and hit the send button. I am much more likely to ignore your email.
- Calling/emailing out of the blue and asking for a reference. I haven’t heard from you in eons, or we met for 10 seconds at a conference and you want me to be your reference? Or even worse, I get a surprise call from a potential employer saying INSERT NAME HERE used me as a reference and do I have time to talk? Um, no. Stay in touch, let me know how you’re doing and ask me beforehand to be a reference. Never assume that I’ll be a reference, because you may not like the result.
- Not saying thank you. The first words I ever learned were thank you. But it’s amazing to me how many people have forgotten those two simple words. When someone does something great for you — like giving you a glowing recommendation or fixing your resume — it’s always nice say thank you via email, phone or in person. One of my mentees sends me a thank-you card via snail mail, which is a really nice touch.
Do you have a career question? Is there a topic you want me to cover here? Send them to me at auntbenet AT gmail DOT com. You may see it here in the future.