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3 Networking Tips for Frustrated Overachievers

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Networking is literally disgusting. It just feels … gross, and science has proven it is actually dirty. But there are networking tips out there that may help make a job search better.

The Cut’s “Ask a Boss” columnist Alison Green offered the following tips to women who wrote in with frustrations that you’d expect from ambitious overachievers, such as: Other people are terrible at networking! Your job rejection letters say you’re “fantastic”! And you’re wondering if job hopping is still a thing? Answers, below.

1. ‘People Are So Bad at Networking With Me.’

Informational interviews can feel useless, especially if you’re like the woman who wrote this letter: She broke into a high-profile field and now she’s happy to help people, but she’s often dismayed when she finds out people are often just desperate for a job, or unprepared to ask meaningful questions. Later, some expect her to spend hours reviewing samples of their work.

When should you start saying no to people? “There’s a huge epidemic of bad networking out there,” Green says. “One thing that’s especially common is people asking for informational calls and meetings when what they really mean is, ‘I’m hoping you will hire me or connect me to someone who will hire me, but since I don’t want to say that outright, I’m pretending I’m seeking more general advice.’” Be honest and more direct with people about what you do and don’t have time for with Green’s word-for-word scripts — doing this will save you time and help them learn to network better.

2. ‘I Get Lots of Interviews But No Offers!’

This reader has job-hunted for a year while employed full-time, and received no offers. She made it to the final rounds of seven different interviews and … nothing! “When I ask for feedback, I am told I am ‘fantastic, smart, professional,’ etc.,” she says. One employer even said she was “overqualified,” when she was rejected after three interview rounds. Another explained they needed someone with a very specific experience — but she never pretended she had that experience.

It’s frustrating, of course, but try not to make it more irritating than it actually is, Green says. Chances are, those interview rounds were necessary. “Much more nuanced information comes out in an interview, which you can’t always get just from reading a résumé,” she says. “Plus, you have to remember that they’re not just looking at how well-matched you are with the job; they’re also looking at how well-matched you are with the job relative to other candidates. And if they’re thoughtful in how they approach hiring, that often won’t be an instant decision.” More reasons to consider here.

Photo: Tom Kelley Archive/Getty Images

3. ‘Should I Hop Around to Different Jobs?’

It can seem like anyone who stays in a job for a long time is unmotivated. To get ahead, shouldn’t you move around as much as you want? Will future potential employers wonder why you settled for so long? This reader has been in her position for nearly eight years and says there isn’t room for her to grow there anymore — something she finds frustrating or okay, depending on the day.

“This is an answer that requires a huge caveat up-front: It varies by industry,” Green says. But: “In most fields, employers are still wary of people with a track record of jumping around from company to company every year or two, especially once you get past the early part of your career.” Here’s why.

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3 Networking Tips for Frustrated Overachievers