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It's (Unofficial) Summer in Minnesota: Let the Networking Begin!

The subtitle for this Blog post should really be, "Do I know you?"

The default InMail:  I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

When former Vice President Al Gore invented the Internet, we all became all powerful.  Google was not far behind . . . . . . and most of us carry the power of the Internet in our hands in the form of a smartphone.  It's easy to find almost anything - little time or effort is needed.  I just 'googled' Al Gore Vice President and came up with 34,700,000 results in .56 seconds (this is literally what happened).  I didn't read any of them.

How long does it take to find a job?

There was a study conducted many years ago that looked at the time it takes to find a position.  One of the study's findings was that there is a seasonality to job finding.  Not surprisingly, the job market slows slightly during the summer.  Editorializing (I get to do that), we Minnesotans enjoy our summers.  Friday afternoons are unofficial vacation half-days.  One out of three Minnesotans are out on vacation on any given week (so it seems).  While job creation and general turnover still happen, things simply slow down from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

It IS the season to network.

Last evening, it was 80 degrees and sunny.  Having iced tea (or a cocktail?) on a patio is a Minnesota activity at this time of year.  We don't get too many opportunities - we need to take advantage of them.

Back to the point - LinkedIn invitations!

Cultivating a network has become a rushed activity brought about due to job change (forced job change or self-initiated job change). LinkedIn has offered the perception that networking can be as easy as sending the above-referenced default InMail. Yet accepting an invitation gives the new connection incredible access to a person's personal network. While never overtly stated, getting a networking invitation from someone you (1) have never met or (2) met once (even if through a referral) is basically a request to have you share your best and long-term developed network with people you barely know.

Networking - a way of life.

While technology is an amazing tool, new jobs are most commonly found through old-fashioned networking. LinkedIn can be a tool to help, but not the only tool.  Make networking an ongoing activity, not an activity based on immediate need.

NOTE - the concept of networking can seem overwhelming. Who has the time? Iced tea, a cocktail or coffee once a week during the year can mean 52 well planned interactions with people. Add a lunch meeting once or twice a month and you have something. One more addition - attend a professional or industry association meeting once a month. The numbers/interactions build quickly.

My advice - have iced tea (or a cocktail) on a patio with someone you know or want to get to know.  Enjoy the Minnesota summer - a.k.a. networking season!