Help me with my networking skills--I need to get over my reluctance to ask people for help in my job hunt.
I'm graduating in May and still don't have a job lined up. People (career counselors, friends, etc.) keep telling me that in this economy, the best way (possibly the only way) to get a job is through networking. I'm a pretty shy person, but I'm able to meet people at networking events and have pleasant conversations with them. However, I seem to be unable to make the next step and ask them for help/advice finding a job. I feel like to do so would be tantamount to asking someone you hardly know for a favor. I don't know--I just don't feel comfortable doing it, and the people I've talked to about this problem seem to have no idea why I feel this way. They're like, "just email them and ask them if you could have a discussion with them over coffee." But I'm thinking, well, I hardly know them, and I'm supposed to ask them to waste time having coffee with me so they can give me advice on finding a job? The thing is, I can't even ask people to help me over email, not to mention ask them to spend even more time meeting me for coffee.
I read this other post
, and it contained some helpful advice. But I have some concrete questions that are not adequately answered in the other post.
1- How do I follow up with people I meet at networking events, i.e., how do I write an email in a way that doesn't feel overly imposing (or doesn't make me feel like I'm asking them for something)?
2- How do I keep in touch with people I met in the past or were introduced to at some point by someone else? (What should I say in emails and how frequently should I send them?)
3- I often fail to even mention to people I meet at networking events that I'm looking for a job because I feel like as soon as I say that, they'll think that the only reason I'm talking to them is because I want them to help me find a job (which isn't even necessarily true). How do I get over this?