Welcome to SixFigureStart®

Career Coaching by Former Fortune 500 Recruiters

SixFigureStart Interview with Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking

I highly recommend Liz Lynch’s new book, Smart Networking.  I’ve been a subscriber to Liz’ networking newsletter for awhile, and she has put her best advice and examples in the book.  Covering both in person and online, the book is great for people new to networking as well as the experienced networker.  I especially loved her emphasis on doing what feels comfortable to you, while at the same time encouraging us to stretch.  Liz graciously answered some of my questions about networking and Gen Y specifically:

When if anytime is your networking advice different for Gen Y (or X or Boomers or Traditionalists)?

My advice to networkers is pretty universal because the fundamentals of building relationships and tapping into them are the same whether you’re 25 or 65. What might be different, though, are the tools that different generations are comfortable using. I have some older clients who can’t understand why they need to be involved with online networking, and by the same token, Gen Y’ers might think there’s no need to ever meet someone face-to-face. But I really think we’re at the stage where there are enough people in both camps that being able to integrate both in-person and online networking strategies and to do both well, will help you succeed much faster.
 
Are there specific networking protocols you recommend when dealing inter-generationally?

You always want to be mindful of your audience and adjust your communication style. Think about how differently you might ask your five-year old to close a door than you would ask your boss (well, maybe it wouldn’t be THAT different!). Keep in mind that making the decision to help you will be determined by that other person, so if you can make them comfortable with you by communicating with them in the words and in the methods that they’re most used to, you’ll have a greater chance of getting their cooperation.
  
What is the biggest networking pet peeve you’ve heard about Gen Y?

That they want instant gratification and expect things to happen quickly. Sometimes it does. You meet someone, hit it off and there’s a perfect fit. They’re able to help you right away because you happen to be at the right place at the right time. Usually, though, relationships take longer to build, and it takes a few conversations before someone gets to know, like and trust you enough to put their own reputations on the line to help you.
 
What is the biggest networking success story you’ve heard about Gen Y?

One of the stories in Smart Networking is about Mike Germano, who was fresh out of college when he ran for town council in Hamden, Connecticut in 2005. Being very social networking savvy, he used Facebook and MySpace to find like-minded students in his network and in his voting district, and to create support groups and fundraising events. He won by a landslide, making him one of the youngest politicians in Connecticut’s history, and throughout his term, continued to use social media to communicate with his constituency. He’s since parlayed that expertise into his own social media consulting firm, Carrot Creative, helping clients like Major League Baseball.

If someone is new to online networks or doesn’t have time to follow all, which one do you most recommend for Gen Y jobseekers?  Why? 

For jobseeking, start with LinkedIn. More and more, recruiters and hiring managers are using it to fill positions by sending job postings to their networks. Having your complete profile up on the site and building out your connections with people you already know, will help you be in the flow of that kind of information when it comes up. You can also use it for active job searching by researching companies you’re interested in working for and seeing who in your network might be able to provide an in.

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