9 Lives for Women Blog

With Networking, There’s No “TMI” | October 23rd, 2012

Recently I received an email from a woman I know from my recruiting days. She is now looking for a new job, knows that I have many employer and general networking connections, and thought I might know of some opportunities that would fit her profile.

In a brief email this woman said,

“As you know, my background is in marketing, public relations, and fundraising. With your many contacts and connections, I hope that you’ll keep me in mind, should you hear of anyone looking for a professional with this type of experience.”

Though I remembered the fact that she was in marketing, any specifics were very fuzzy. I speak to so many women now and I’ve worked with hundreds of women—and reviewed thousands of resumes in the last decade. Clearly I needed a reminder of this woman’s specific skills and expertise.

At the end of her email I saw that she attached her resume. Well that’s good, I thought, but I don’t have time right now to read her resume and figure out her key marketing skills. I also felt like I would be reviewing her resume without any knowledge of the type of job she is looking for—especially when she listed three very broad and general areas of expertise.

With so many unknowns—and the fact that she didn’t save me the time of reviewing her resume—her email dropped deeper and deeper into my inbox. Why? Because this was a case of TLI (too little information), not TMI (too much information). When you’re networking, there’s no such thing as too much good information.

So the moral of the story is: be specific. Marketing, for example, is a huge field. There are so many marketing specialties and one person rarely qualifies for them all. Had this woman added a couple of lines about her specific marketing expertise—and the type of position or company she is looking for—my networking brain would have started cranking. I would have been able to respond immediately to the email and fire off at least one or two names to call or a handful of companies to research.

With too little information the networking engine stalls. 

You need to rev up networking engines with an email like this:

“To refresh your memory, I have 15 years+ experience in CPG marketing—primarily account management focused on the youth market. Many of my integrated marketing initiatives have included a strong PR component, especially via social media channels. Sports drink client work also had many fundraising tie-ins with the NFL and leading charitable organizations. I’m looking to join a small CPG marketing agency–such as X, Y or Z– that is a leader in the youth market. A senior account executive  position is my target, but I’m open to many other roles and companies that would capitalize on my skills and expertise.”

That’s 100 specific words vs. the 40 vague words I received. Yes, it’s important to keep communications as succinct as possible, but not at the expense of clarity. Had I received my version of the email, I would have glommed on to many juicy tidbits. Many agencies and individual specialists in CPG and sports marketing, social media and the youth market would have sprung to mind.

The truth is that I’ve received hundreds of emails–from this woman and so many others–that are only superficial networking. In the networking game, you have to do the work for your connections–and make your objectives very clear–so that they can do their work for you. With “TLI” your chances of getting a useful response are only average at best.  —KAS

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