Answered by Nikki, Hiring Expert at Fifth Third Bank, on Wednesday, October 30, 2013
This is a really great question and one of the reasons I struggled with networking in the beginning. Everyone is open to networking. You shouldn't sell yourself short, you may have an expertise that they need in the future. I would be up front in letting them know that it is networking. I would keep the conversation open and ask questions about them and how they came to be where they are, then dive in and let them know just a bit of your background and where you are headed. Networking is a great place to start in the job search. Everyone needs to create what I call "fans", the more "fans" you have the more opportunities you may have to find that perfect job. All you can do is ask, if they say no, then it is there loss. I see people who network as go getters, I’m not sure I have ever had a manager tell me they don’t want one of those. Good luck in your job search!