Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

6 Networking Dos and Don’ts: Book-Job Boot Camp, Week 3, Day 1

Kimberly Lew is the Managing Editor of Trendsetter’s parent publication, Publishing Trends, and office-space-sharer of our own Elisabeth and Livia.

When I think of networking, the mental image tends towards that archetypal “Suit” with sunglasses and a cell phone perpetually glued to his hand. “We’ll be in touch,” he says smarmily, as he hands you his card, maybe winking at you before returning to his all-important phone conversation.

Perhaps I watch too many movies.

In reality, networking is an essential part of the working world, and it can make all the difference when you’re job hunting, looking to change careers, or finding a mentor. So what is networking? I like to think of it as finding people whose resources align with your ambitions and working to build relationships to make the most of what you both have to offer. Think of it as though everyone in the industry is a puzzle piece, and each piece builds a network and gets to know one another so that they will be able to find or pass along the right piece to fit each other’s needs.

Networking does not guarantee you a job, and it’s not the only way to get a job, either. However, in this competitive job market, it’s well worth it to do whatever you can to increase your experiences and your connections to help set you apart from the rest.

To help get you started, here are some networking Dos and Don’ts.


  • Find relevant connections in your own backyard. See if you have any family or friends in the business. Let them know of your interest in their industry and ask them to keep you posted on any opportunities.
  • Get out of the house! Go to book events, conventions, panels, discussions. Join a book club. Volunteer at a book store. Find the places where the people you want to meet are going to be, and put in some face time.
  • Know what you’re looking for. Are you looking for an internship? Or a job? In what department? What are your qualifications? The more information you can give, the better someone can assess whether or not he or she can help you.
  • Be sincere. This is an important one. Regard your interaction as a conversation–not necessarily a sales pitch. Yes, you want to be forward enough to be clear about what you want, but don’t let your determination to sell yourself get in the way of actually being engaging to talk to.
  • Use the web to your advantage. Remember that interactions through internet forums, blogs, and social networks also help build your contacts.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If you don’t hear from someone in a while, a friendly message never hurts.


  • Dismiss someone just because they’re not an executive in the field. You never know who might be able to help you in the future.
  • Be one-track minded. Maybe the editor you met at a party doesn’t know of any job openings, but you two do have a mutual love of Lorrie Moore. Fulfilling connections can go beyond just career ambitions–and, like in the last point, you never know what may come up in the future.
  • Be afraid to ask for help. The worst someone can say is “no.” Even if one person can’t help you, they may be able to refer you to someone who can.
  • Focus more on quantity than quality. While it is important to put yourself out there, if you’re not willing to invest yourself at least a little in a person, don’t assume they’re going to want to invest in you.
  • Rush an opportunity. If someone offers you the opportunity to send in your resume for a dream job, don’t go home and ship it off sight-unseen. Take your time making sure that you are representing yourself as best as you can. Remember that if someone is going out on a limb for you, what you do is a reflection on that person as well, and if you want to maintain that relationship, you have to do you both proud.
  • Forget to say “thank you”–it’s always nice to hear.

In keeping with the last thing point, my parting piece of networking advice would simply be to pay the good will forward! Do your part as a puzzle piece to help others find their fit. After all, by helping other people make connections, you also widen your own network. Sunglasses, cell phone, and wink are not required.

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