When starting anything new, the first few weeks are usually the most challenging. Whether practicing a foreign language, learning to play an instrument, or engaging in a new fitness routine, seeing tangible results can take time.
This is why many get frustrated and abandon the pursuit – depending on the goal, when there is an unequal amount of effort exerted as compared to noticeable gain, it often doesn’t feel worth it to proceed.
The same is true for networking. If you’ve let your contacts grow cold, re-gaining momentum can feel like a major effort at first, and often with little ROI initially. So, despite the fact that networking has been the gold standard for obtaining satisfying employment opportunities for decades, job seekers often resort back to methods that require less effort (i.e., applying online). Unfortunately, although these methods feel deceptively productive, they have a significantly lower ROI.
Like learning to speak a new language where you won’t be conversant beyond simple phrases (Donde esta el bano?) after a few weeks, your contacts may take some time to respond to your emails.
But keep going.
Like playing an instrument where you start off with individual notes and basic chords rather than full length songs and concertos, networking can feel clunky and awkward at first, especially if you’ve become rusty.
Like starting a new fitness program where you lose 2 pounds in the first week rather than your total goal of 30 pounds, networking likely won’t result in job offers (or possibly even interviews) in the first few weeks, especially if you’re just getting back into it.
But, keep going.
Reflect upon past experiences where persistence has paid off. Even though you won’t drop 10 pounds in a single workout, experience informs us that regular exercise has a cumulative positive impact on our metabolism, heart health, and muscle mass, which will contribute to losing those pounds over time.
In a culture of instant gratification, even a few weeks can feel like an eternity. It makes it easy to convince ourselves that what we’re doing isn’t working.
But if it’s something you truly desire, ignore that, and keep going.
History shows us countless examples of individuals finding true success when they kept going, even when tangible results were not immediately apparent. You may need to course correct, circle back, start over, trip up, manage rejection, or ask for help along the way, but whatever you do, keep going.