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7 Wrong Ways to Let People Know You’re Jobhunting

Word of mouth is how people find new jobs, right? Yes–if you do it right. Sometimes we think we’re “just talking” but really we’re doing bad job search networking. That’s “anti-networking”!

Here are seven ways not to spread the word about your job search.

Don’t tell people …

…too openly, when you’re still employed. Telling one co-worker can be the same as telling them all! Don’t drop little hints or “jokes” that undermine your current position. It’s also risky to use your business phone or email address in your job search.

…immediately after leaving your job. Take at least a day or two to get centered and prepare effective answers to questions you’re likely to be asked, especially: Why are you looking? What kind of job and company are you looking for? Can you tell me a little more about yourself?

…with drama. If you’re still hurt or angry about how the job ended and are craving a sympathetic ear, talk it over with family and close friends only, until you’re “ready for primetime.” An upbeat, forward-looking tone is a prerequisite for effective networking, assuring people you’re a good candidate for introductions and opportunities.

…in a mass email, asking everyone if they know of any openings. This approach leads to responses like “good luck, I’ll keep you in mind” (and then they don’t). The best practices in job search networking focus on organizations, not openings and approaching people individually.

…with urgency or desperation. The fact that you need a job fast is not a selling point. Similarly, a vague goal or an “I’ll take anything” approach makes a job seeker look desperate and lacking in enthusiasm for their work. A goal gives structure and direction to your search, enabling you to be proactive in going after what you really want.

…with the news that your job search isn’t going so well. Here’s a better way to answer friendly inquiries about your progress.

…in a self-absorbed way, without showing an interest in the person you’re speaking with. What can you do for your networking partners? Be an empathetic listener, a connector of other people, a source of interesting and useful information.

Spread the word about your job search, in ways that work!

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