On a monthly basis, I attend a variety of community and networking functions to build relationships, promote my business, and give back to the community.  I usually enjoy meeting new people and with a last name that rhymes with “donkey” (yes, Schwanke does rhyme with “donkey”), people usually have heard of me within business and/or marketing circles in our city.

This last week, I was approached by a woman who used one of the most interesting networking lines I’ve ever encountered.  And that doesn’t mean that it was extraordinarily great. It was actually extraordinarily awful.  Check it out:

“Hi! I really wanted to meet you because Bob Smith told me you have a ton of great connections.

What? Did you really just say that?

Ok, so I’ll admit.  I was a bit flattered at first. Especially if you’re the product of the people you hang around with.  However, that quickly changed.  And although I carried on a bit with friendly conversation, I mentally put up a wall.  I’ve put a lot of sweat and tears into building a thriving, responsive, loving network of professionals that know my skills, my character and vice versa.  It brings new meaning to the “I’ll have my people call your people.”  When someone uses that as their carrot for a first impression, I think that sends the wrong message.

What’s even better?  She was asking to help someone she knew get a job. 

Ok, so maybe she was asking me this to cut the crap, get right to the chase, and hope that I have a bit of charity in my heart to connect her friend with my network to accelerate the job-seeking process.

I’m still not ok with this.  And here is why:

1. If you’ve been laid off, you should be at these networking events in person.

It’s great to let a friend know that you’re looking for a job, and to pass it on wherever he or she goes.  However, you need to be the one that moves.  You need to be the one that asks.  Get out from behind your computer and get out into the community!

2. Don’t count on someone else to do your dirty work.

When I was teenager, my parents made it an expectation that you will work in the summer.  They didn’t line up jobs for me – they expected me to find something.  This ranged from fast food to assisted living facilities to typing card catalog information (yes, typing!) and rouging beans.  You need to be asking what positions are available. Call up companies who don’t have want-ads posted.  The best jobs aren’t posted online anyway! Risk some rejection and get dirty. It will pay off.  Trust me.

3. Know what types of results you can produce.

When I inquired about the type of work this individual was capable of doing, the answer I received was, “Really, anything.”

Can she program computers?  Does she excel at event planning?  Is she a marketing wizard? No one is good at everything, and if she maintains that platform I wouldn’t hire her anyway since I want someone who is REALLY good at their job. Not “sort of good” at a lot of jobs.

In your opinion, what are more “wrong ways” to look for a job? Let me know!