how to respond to a lame networking email

A reader writes:

As I’ve advanced in my career, I’ve had many new contacts reach out to me trying to network… and doing it the wrong way. These are friends of friends, LinkedIn third-degree connections, sisters of cousins of high school friends, college students in my school’s alumni group, that kind of thing. I’ve repeatedly gotten emails that are completely generic, like, “Hello, (my name). I graduated from School X and my resume is attached. I am looking for work in your field and hope you can be an employment contact.” There’s no mention of my company, no specific questions about my job or my career (all of which is readily available on LinkedIn, so there’s not really an excuse for not mentioning it), and nothing more about what the person wants besides a job.

This especially frustrates me because I would never do this. When I reach out to a new contact, I do my research so I can make the connection worth their while. I learn as much as I can about the person’s career before I even send an email, and when I do reach out, I ask targeted questions and explain exactly what I’m trying to learn from them (learn more about their field, get their take on their grad school program, etc.). I also usually offer to take them to coffee or lunch if they have time.

The problem is, I have no idea how to respond to these people. It’s hardest when they are remotely connected to me in some way — connected enough that I’d feel bad ignoring them. I’m really tempted to say something like, “I’d be happy to help you, but I recommend that you learn more about what you’re looking for and why you want to talk to me specifically and then get back to me,” but it seems harsh. At the same time, going out of my way to help someone out who hasn’t even tried to do his/her homework seems to justify this kind of lackluster networking, which doesn’t do anyone any favors. What do you recommend?

Yep, it’s annoying. It’s like in the process of asking you for a favor, they put the burden on you of figuring out how you can help them. However, if it makes you feel any better, these are almost always people who just genuinely don’t know what they should be asking — they’ve been told they should network, they’re not really sure what that means, and they’re probably a little anxious about it.

I’d write back and say this:  “I’d be glad to try to help if I can. Are there specific questions you had for me?” Or the slightly more pointed: “I’m not clear on exactly what you’re asking. Can you clarify what I might be able to help with?”

If they respond with something like, “Does your company have any openings?” or some other question that they should be figuring out for themselves, then you can suggest they look at your company’s career page online or whatever. And if you want to throw in a dose of education, you can also add something like, “Feel free to reach out if you have more nuanced questions than the information that’s available online.” But that’s optional.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. AD

    You should not feel bad ignoring these people. If they haven’t put the time and effort into initiating contact with you, they shouldn’t expect you to take the time and effort to respond.

  2. Laurie

    Recent experience..

    Someone joining the master’s program I graduated from reached out to me on LinkedIn. His initial email seemed okay, so I accepted the message and answered some of his questions. This went back and forth about four times, until his closing email where he laid out his real request(s), “Also, is it okay if I contact you for any professional guidance through my course? Hope its fine. And could you please inform me when your firm recruits so that I could apply.”

    His field of interest does not coincide with what my firm does, so I responded as such and suggested he look at our career site for positions that might interest him. He responded with this, “Thanks for all the advice and help, and I hope to take a shot at (company redacted), and I am sure you will help me :)”

    Groan.

    1. Ellen M.

      ^This is why it is often best not to reply at all. I help people when I can, but not in this way.

    2. Nev

      I didn’t think that people actually have the nerve to say such things in written communication with a person they barely know. It leaves a really bad taste when you want to be nice and help someone, until they show you an ugly, self-centered side of their character.

  3. Alex

    That seems so odd to me. I err on the side of not initiating networking contacts because I feel like I don’t have enough to offer the person I’m reaching out to…I hate the thought of being one of these people. I would definitely let the contact do all the work, especially if they are just asking for open positions. I see no point in responding to them with anything other than “Please check the company website, I don’t forward resumes.” (However I am quite curmudgeonly.)

    1. AD

      If you are applying somewhere, and you can get an introduction to someone who works there, you often are helping them out, because many (larger) companies have employee referral programs. If you are honestly a good candidate for an existing opening, ideally the insider gets your resume an extra few seconds of perusal from the hiring manager, and in return, gets the bonus if you get hired.

      1. EngineerGirl

        No. This only works if you actually know the candidate and can vouch for them. An introduction isn’t good enough to recommend a candidate. I certainly wouldn’t do it, as it reflects on me.

        1. Jamie

          ITA. The only time I would deviate from this is if the networkee and I had a mutual contact in whom I have implicit trust. If they vouched for them I would go so far as to pass that along to the hiring manager, with the caveat that I’ve never worked with them but I’ve heard excellent things from someone who’s opinions I respect.

          Although the number of people in whom I have implicit trust is a very short list – so this has only happened once for me.

          1. AD

            Oh, wait, I just realized something. When I say “introduction”, I mean “I have met the person and talked with them at an industry event or in a similar situation”, but now that I reread the OP and this whole comment thread, I’m thinking that “introduction” means something different in the LinkedIn context. Is forwarding someone’s e-mail now considered an “introduction”?

            1. EngineerGirl

              Talking with someone at an event is grossly insufficient to get my recommendation. I can’t tell their work ethic (which could be faked) and definately can’t tell the quality of the work. NO introduction is sufficient to justify my recommendation. I actually have to know what I’m recommending to recommend it.

              1. AD

                I’m not saying, “here’s a person you should hire!” It’s more like “here’s a person I met at a networking event”, and I trust that the hiring manager is capable of further screening.

                But my initial point was that, if you are one degree away from someone, you shouldn’t be so worried about bothering someone that you won’t even ask the mutual contact for an introduction. It can ultimately be good for both sides.

                1. KellyK

                  I agree with this. I think referrals are different from recommendations (though I think it’s important to make it clear which one you’re doing, as the employee passing along a resume).

                  Say my company needs computer programmers for their new chocolate teapot inventory system. If I’ve worked with someone or know them really well, I may recommend them. But I may also toss out the job opening to my LinkedIn contacts, or share it on Facebook, or whatever. If someone applies for the job because of their connection to me, and they get it, I would get the referral bonus whether that person was the former coworker I wrote a glowing recommendation email for or the person I vaguely know from college who I just referred.

        2. AD

          Well, that’s why I say it is the “ideal” situation. I would recommend someone if an introduction came through someone I trusted, and they thought highly of the candidate. I would NOT do it for someone who just contacted me on LinkedIn because they saw we knew someone in common.

    2. mh_76

      I don’t really initiate either but my reason is that I hate how celf-centered and seemingly one-sided “networking” has become. It’s become about “how can this person help me mee meeeee” and not about getting to know someone, even on a friendly acquaintence level, and letting the “help” part unfold. I may not be able to “help” anyone right now but who knows what the future brings…or what the results of today’s (contract job) interview will be…

      1. Alisha

        This is a pet peeve of mine as well. I have taken a lot of time to assist my colleagues in their careers – re-doing resumes, writing recommendations, passing along job openings, coaching, etc. Most of these people, when I ask them for a (rare) favor, either ignore my contact completely, or feign helplessness. I’m considering taking a hiatus from this so-called “networking” because I’m tired of volunteering endless hours of my time for people who seem to be out to take whatever they can get.

        I have to laugh at the original letter though, because I got a similar networking request from a new grad. She wanted me to “help her” get a job in the field or “give her some contacts.” I told her about three large companies in the area that hire for her job function, told her to go look on their websites and see if she’s interested in any of the available positions, and write me back when she plans to apply to them. Then, I told her, I can introduce you to my contact at whichever company it is. Until she has a plan, and a job in mind though, I’m not going to waste my contacts’ time. These are very senior level people in their late 40s and older who don’t have a moment to waste on indecisiveness.

  4. CollegeCareerServicesThatDoNotSuck

    I appreciate people who reach out respectfully (aka: they did their research, as mentioned above) for an informational interview. I guess I’ve gotten lucky–some of the behaviors mentioned here are awful!

    I teach Informational Interview skills to students. I don’t think the expectations should ever be that you will get a reference out of the encounter, although you may find an ally or mentor, if you are very lucky! At the very least, if one is well prepared, they should at least get some good insight on the field and/or company.

  5. Ellen M.

    I just ignore requests like this. I get lots of requests for job hunting advice for the geographical area and field I work in, and people I’ve never met will send their resumes and ask for (demand, sometimes) a free review. It’s beyond pushy and obnoxious and there are too many of them; even if I drafted some kind of a form response it would take too much time to send repeatedly each day, and serves no good purpose.

    Any response at all is, as you noted, rewarding bad behavior. And I know from past experience that for some of them, if they get any response at all, they’ll want to be my regular pen pal, with endless demands for help and advice and not a “thank you” in sight.

    1. Alisha

      If there was a “Like” button, I’d click it for this comment! I fear I have rewarded bad behavior with the people I help. While a few of them are relatively new to the workforce (i.e. 25 or under), I’m getting behavior that’s as bad or worse from people in their 30s who really should know better.

  6. Laura

    As a new college graduate, I think you should respond (if you have time) with pointers. You don’t need to offer this advice to everyone, but if they are connected (family, friends of family, etc), I really would give these new graduates (assuming they are new graduates) the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they truly don’t know what they are doing.

    If this is the case (and you feel the need to help), I do not think it is rude to ask what specifically they can help with and find a nice way to give them networking advice. Often, new grads are told to network and not told how. They haven’t been in the business world so don’t realize how awkward and annoying this emails are.

    GAH. Career Services. Start helping! Mine did not. Thankfully, I had AAM.

    1. Nev

      Absolutely. I hate how Career Services mystify networking as panacea for all job worries and how they push students with little or no business experience to engage with thought leaders just for the sake of ‘broadening your network’. Grr..

    2. EngineerGirl

      No. Responding with pointers takes time and effort to analyze a response. I’d only do that for someone’s kid, or the friend of a very close friend. Friends of friends is insufficient.

    3. CollegeCareerServicesThatDoNotSuck

      I am not sure if your goal should be networking, per say. I think it should be to get information–that’s it. Anything else you may gain is gravy.

      When I was in industry (& still today), I personally felt doing these sort of things for those who prepared well was a professional courtesy–to help new professionals, but I would have never acted as a reference unless the relationship grew from the initial meeting.

      I am a little perplexed by the professionals who are responding that they hate to do it, or just won’t. I think it’s part of good professionalism. Although there is nothing wrong with a polite brush off to someone who has exhibited some of the bad behaviors discussed here.

      1. EngineerGirl

        The problem is with volume and numbers. There are thousands in engineering. Shall I help them all? I prefer to e-mentor and mentor instead, through things like MentorNet.

        Here’s the flip side of the coin from the unemployment situation. Many of us left employed are not being asked to do more with less. Work longer hours, so our free time is precious. Shall I use up all the free time helping those I don’t know? Where do I draw the line?

        Again, it is a volume issue. I’d say your position in career services has blinded you to the current employment situation. The game has changed.

          1. Laura

            my point is that although at first blush it seems that responding with “how to network”tips seems rude, but I think that advice is just as valuable.

            As far as how many people you should do this for versus ignore, that is a personal choice. Mentoring or helping new grads with job search is an interest/hobby for me.

            My point is that providing some pointers on networking is better than ignoring them. They will probably be embaressed when they read the response, but I guarentee it will help with their next interaction.

            1. Anonymous

              Agreed. At the very least EngineerGirl could make a general response on how to network, or why she feels she can or doesn’t know them well enough to help, save it in a word doc and just copy and paste responses. Doesn’t take THAT much effort after the initial letter and she would still be helping out.

          2. CollegeCareerServicesThatDoNotSuck

            That is tough! Do colleagues experience similar volume? Maybe you could pass some off? It might be a good developmental opportunity for people you supervise–or individuals with just a few years in the field–their insight could be just as valuable to a recent grad.

            1. Alisha

              Up until the beginning of this year, I was generous to a fault with my time. However, I’m beginning to see where Engineer Girl is coming from, as I’ve recently gotten requests from people I’ve interviewed with (and wasn’t suited for) to match them with “better” candidates from my contact pool, and in the spring, when the hiring cycle temporarily picked up, I got a rash of e-mails from recruiters I’m tangentially connected to informing me about positions I’m not qualified for. (They’re usually either too low-level or require a skill-set or technical certification I don’t have.)

              The recruiters (or executives, or whatever) will come out and say, “This isn’t the right fit for you, but could you introduce me to someone who is a fit?” It takes time to research where my contacts are right now, choose a suitable person for the opening, write a letter of introduction to that contact, and then write the recruiter (executive, etc.) back to tell him or her how to get ahold of my contact. It’s gotten to where I truly feel that I’m acting as the middleman in other people’s job searches.

              Perhaps I wouldn’t feel so put out if there was some modicum of reciprocity, but it’s rare I get that, or even a “thank you,” in some cases! I understand a delay in response from those who are working full-time and then some – up until late last year, I was keeping lots of balls in the air myself, so I know just how rough it is for the still-employed. But, other folks are just volunteering, or working a few hours a week…some are even job-hunting full-time…and so I find it VERY difficult to believe that they don’t have the time to write me a quick note back.

  7. Nev

    First of all, I would like to congratulate OP on her genuine willingness to help people learn and grow professionally and personally through advice and mentorship. Not all people are so open and willing to engage, especially when they stand high on the corporate ladder.
    Alison provided excellent advice (as always). My two cents is that every clumsy networking attempt is different. If the clumsiness comes out of inexperience (college student) my reply would be a guide on how the student should prep before I can provide any meaningful piece of advice. If it is just an awkward ill-disguised request for a job, I’d be straightforward and explain how the HR dept in my company work. OP shouldn’t feel guilty for being honest and direct, because she would be doing them a favor by replying (some people don’t do it at all) and helping them see the flaws in their approach.

    1. Elsie

      I totally agree with this. Though you’re right that people should do more research and you’re within your rights to respect your time, this is the kind of approach most (especially young) people take out of total ignorance. It takes guts to try to reach out in the first place and I’m guessing at least some of these folks have no idea this is the wrong way to go about it, only that they’ve been vaguely told “networking” is really important but have no further instructions. If you feel compelled because of personal connections, you should prompt them to explain more about their interests, as AAM advised.

      I just heard this exact Q&A at an alumni event about careers/networking and it really is surprising how many recent grads make this blunder and just need gentle redirection.

  8. Eric

    I usually respond along the lines of:
    “Thanks for the email. The National Association of Teapot Makers, has a job sections that is a great resource (www.teapotmakers.com/chocolate). If you have any specific questions for me, please feel free to get back in touch”.

    1. SrRecruiter

      I second this. I usually reply with the equal amount of effort that the person contacting me put in. So in the case of this OP, I would reply with a link to our jobs portal and encourage the person apply directly to jobs.

  9. K Too

    The examples that OP has given are rude (blindly sending over a resume for job leads, etc), but I just feel there is so much networking advice out there that can give you a freakin’ mental disorder. Networking should be about building relationships based on the mutual interest of an industry.

    Each case of networking will vary depending on the person asking and those that are willing to respond.

    Not to hijack this thread, but I’ve wondered post re-employment, if there is a difference in networking b/t men and women. I’ve noticed that the women I reached out to in the past never responded to my industry-related questions. The men, on the other hand, seemed very open to answering my questions and offered advice.

    1. mh_76

      LIKE! I agree that “Networking should be about building relationships based on the mutual interest” but that mutual interest could be anything…industry, being a dog lover, hobby, taste in music/arts/books…anything. And sometimes in the process of building that relationship, other common interests come to light and other connections are made. By “relationship”, I don’t mean a best friend or more-than-friends or even a close friendship but rather a rapport with someone who you see from timte to time and hopefully keep in touch with in between. Remember, communication is a two way street. One of my minor pet peeves is when people don’t reply at all…doesn’t have to be instantaneously (that is also a pain in the neck) but do remember to click reply sometimes. The most valuable and most overlooked relationship building tool is the in person meeting that is not centered around anything other than meeting one another in person and conversing.

      On the subject of changing context: the person for whom I’ve done a bit of freelance work is someone with whom I am in a large music group. He knew that I was (still am) job-hunting, had some freelance work that he needed help with, and the rest is history…and history may repeat itself if some approval or other falls into place.

      1. Alisha

        Enthusiastically agreed that more people should follow up. As for the difference in men vs. women that K Too noticed, my experience has been somewhat different. My field is very male-dominated, and my experience has been that the men connect with one another and help each other find jobs, and by virtue of my gender, I’m not privy to those networking meetings or discussions, so there’s a whole untapped labyrinth of “hidden” opportunities that I’m never going to hear about.

        That, too, makes me upset. Or at the very least disappointed – but I’m not sure how to get inside the circle. My contacts, for the most part, are aware I’m very career-oriented, I earn the majority of income for myself and my husband, I’m not interested in family life, and I don’t take issue with networking at steakhouses (or gentlemen’s clubs, or whatever), but I do feel they’re still hesitant to allow women into their circle. It sucks – and it’s even worse for the many women my age who do have families.

  10. Blinx

    I also don’t get it when acquaintances of mine send me a LinkedIn invitation, yet they never even looked at my profile! Shows a tremendous lack of interest in me or my career path. Are they just trying to increase their number of contacts? Sheesh!

  11. kristinyc

    I had an alum from my college see my post on our specific school’s (Journalism/Telecommunications) Facebook group. Everyone was just posting what they were doing and what city they lived in. This girl sent me a message on FB saying that she had just interned in my city for the summer, and was looking for advice on moving here for real.

    I gave her my email address and connected with her on LinkedIn (because I don’t do professional communication on FB), and gave her some advice about how to move here back in September (which was pretty much, “Save up several thousand dollars before you come here, and be prepared to work any job you can get until you get something in your field).

    Then, in March, she sent me a message thanking me for my advice, and letting me know that she just moved here that week, and that my advice was helpful to her! We ended up getting together for coffee, and since she had moved to my neighborhood, I showed her around.

    I guess the point of this story is, if someone gives you advice that is helpful to you, be sure to thank them! It was really gratifying to hear that my advice had been helpful to her.

    1. Steve G

      I also have positive networking experiences. In the rare case you can’t help someone, then you can’t help. But I think it can be fun, meeting people, collecting cards, and introducing people – even if you aren’t necessarily friends with them – because you think they might be able to do work together. It’s all good.

    2. B

      Thanks for sharing this! What a nice story. It’s nice to hear a positive story about networking.

      It’s understandable that so many people are resentful to receive generic networking emails, but the students sending these probably don’t know any better and they are trying every avenue to get a job. I don’t think you have an obligation to respond if they are so clearly lacking in effort/thought, but there’s no need to get all bitter about it. We’ve all had to start somewhere, and let’s be honest, it’s a scary time for young people starting out right after college.

  12. Lisa

    I think if I made this mistake, I’d want to hear something along the lines of: “Hey, I appreciate your thinking of me, but I’m not responsible for any hiring or recruitment right now. My company lists all job openings online. Just as a word of friendly advice, because I’ve been a job-seeker many times myself–I’ve found that most people don’t appreciate receiving a resume that comes with the expectation that they do the hard work of figuring out what kind of role it would fit and if there’s such a role open in the company. That’s normally a job candidate’s task, and they would then send a resume to an individual contact in reference to a specific job opening. I wish you all the best with your job search!”

    I bet these well-meaning people are getting shitty career advice from college career centers.

  13. Emily

    OK, I have never gotten this alumni networking concept. I’m supposed to want to preference one candidate over another, or provide help to one young person but not another, because we happened to go to the same school? Should I also privilege people from my hometown, or people who use the same hair salon as I do? Perhaps because I went to such large universities (30k undergrad 60k grad) I don’t have any particular attachment or feel any sense of connection to people from my same universities.

    1. Bonnie

      I think that people who have similar experiences in common tend to bond faster than others. I am currently working with 2 people from my hometown (more than 150 miles from my current location) and one from my university (small school with less than 10k students). We were able to connect based on our shared experiences which made getting to know them easier and less awkward. But if you don’t feel that kind of identification with your hometown, unitveristy or hair salon then it probably won’t work for you.

    2. Anonymous

      The program that I completed in University was very specialized and had a typical graduating class of between 30 and 50 students a year. The jobs most of the grads go for are difficult to find postings for and even harder to get into. The program itself is also difficult to explain as the official degree title is not common and a lot of employers have no idea what it is (I usually explain what it is in my cover letter, and I’ve had a few employers interview me just because they wanted to know about the program, so it does work in my favor usually). Using our alumni network has been a huge help for me as I can get advice from people who understand what my degree is and hold jobs in a field that is extremely difficult to find postings or information on. I would never ask these people to provide me with a reccomendation or reference, since they don’t actually know me, but I’ve received some great tips on how to find work in my field and what skills to highlight in interviews.

  14. Jeanne

    I got an email that was addressed to all the graduates of my masters program. It was basically “can you get me a job at your company?” I had never heard of this person and we were going through layoffs. I guess I’m too harsh because I replied that I don’t get jobs for people I’ve never heard of and if I knew of any jobs I’d tell my laid off coworkers not a stranger. I was rather offended by the whole thing.

  15. Emily

    Over time, I’ve developed a pretty stock answer that I can at least sample from to construct a response to anyone who asks for input on my field. I’ve always included a dash of resume and cover letter advice (the people who contact me are usually young and very new job seekers) and most recently, I’ve started spinning “be specific about your role and your accomplishments” tips into a line or two about being specific in networking efforts, e.g. what you’re looking for, and asking specific questions instead of, “what can you tell me about your experience in general?” It’s exhausting to interpret and answer questions like that, especially for strangers. My hope is that, by the time they get to the next person, the inexperienced networkers will tighten up their approach a little bit.

    1. Alisha

      That was what made replying to the young lady who reached out to me difficult. She had no information about what type of company she wanted to work for, or even, what specific sub-set of our field she’d prefer to pursue. That field is pretty broad, and I could be referring someone to anything from a SaaS company to a small mobile development shop, to a large bank, university, or hospital, to a marketing firm or global ad agency that does technical and interactive work.

      1. Alisha

        p.s. I’m not bitter toward new grads who want help. My college career center was the pits too – and that was at a time when people generally either had dial-up or no internet at home, so applications were nowhere near as competitive as they are today! I just feel confused when someone doesn’t give me enough information to go on, and feel like I’m wasting my time and the new grad’s. If you want someone in your field to help you, telling them basics like what type of job you want and which types of organizations you’d like to target helps them out a lot.

        Where I get a little bitter is when people at my approximate level ask for hours of my time, and don’t reciprocate. A 22-year-old may be networking for the first time, but a 34-year-old should know protocol by that age.

  16. Blue Dog

    Such an email has the stink of death on it. I would blow it off and not feel bad about it in the least. If the email they sent to you is that generic, my guess is that they sent out 500 copies of it. They will never miss your failure to respond.

  17. Long Time Admin

    Why, oh why do people think that just because you work there, you have an “in” and can get them hired? Not just an interview, mind you, but an actual job? (“What kind of job?” “Anything. I have bills to pay.”) And I don’t have an “in” any where, with any one (if I did, I’d have a better job).

    I don’t feel guilty about not helping these people, and you shouldn’t either.

  18. Unmana (@Unmana)

    I sent Alison this networking story, and she thought more people might want to read it, so here goes.

    I graduated from business school seven years ago. A few months into my first job, I got an email from a first-year student (henceforth known as Student) in my school (the program is two years, so I’d never had any contact with him previously). His email was a classic what-not-to-do. He called me “sir,” mis-spelled my company name while calling it his “dream company” and so on. I had even less patience then than I do now, and sent him a snarky email in response, pointing out that I am a woman and correcting the company name, but also (I think) offered some brief advice.

    I learned later that my email mortified him (and I am embarrassed now and would be kinder if it happened again), but he sent a very gracious apology in response. The next year, I was in a different job in a different city. My school has yearly “outreach programs” where a team of students spends a few days in one of several big cities and tries to network with preferred potential employers and alumni.

    Student was leading the team that came to my city, and he called me to get in touch. He was so polite and gracious over the phone that I (an introvert who is scared of networking) went to meet the team (with my fiance, now husband, also an alumnus). We had a nice meeting, and later Student connected with me on a social networking site and kept in touch, sending occasional messages. He got placed after he graduated and continued to keep in touch.

    One day around four years since that first email, Student and I had a longer-than-usual IM conversation, and he told me he wasn’t happy with his current job. We talked about his options, he expressed interest in working at my husband’s employer (where I had also worked earlier). I passed his resume on to my husband, who was away for work at the time, and kept bugging him over the phone until he contacted HR and Student was reviewed for an opening. (Of course, Husband didn’t just refer Student on my word: it helped that Student had been unfailingly polite and nice in his interactions with Husband as well.)

    Student was finally hired by Husband’s employer a few months down the line. It’s been three years, and he’s still there. Also, he ended up working with my husband and living close to us at first, and for a while I had an awesome friend who would walk over most weekends. (And yeah, he hasn’t stopped laughing over the hard time I gave him in my first email.)

    I think this story really illustrates how to do networking right: apologize if you goof up, be nice even when you’re not asking for something in return, and keep in touch!

  19. Liz

    The flip side of this is when the networkee responds to an introduction from a mutual acquaintance and a friendly email detailing interests and overlapping experience with an email that says only: “You’ll have to check our website for openings.” Or agrees to meet and then reschedules four times in the hopes you will take the hint and disappear. Or announces grandly, “I don’t DO networking but good luck with YOUR networking.”

    People just don’t always know how to connect, I guess.

  20. Lauren

    Its hard to connect with someone that you don’t know on LinkedIn since you only have so many characters to work with.

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