Learn about nice from Paris Hilton
We all know that networking is the way to build a career. It’s the how-to that’s so difficult. Today, most of the advice about networking says: Be nice, and people will be nice back. And, building a network helps a career because you can ask for a favor when you need one. But you can’t call in favors if you’re not giving them out all the time.

Chartreuse has a great post on this topic: Why Paris Hilton is Famous: Understanding value in a post-Madonna world.” Paris Hilton is the queen of giving out favors. She understands the value of passing along information. So she builds her business (herself) by giving out favors (publicity). You need to do something similar in your career. Like Paris, your job is to network: be nice, give people information they want, do favors whenever you can. That’s what networking is.

Job hunters, choose networking over keyword optimization
Here’s a little reminder that you probably won’t get a job by emailing your resume to a large human resources department. The article, Sorry, no one’s reading that resume you sent, describes the automation of the corporate hiring process. Bottom line: It’s very automated.

One of my most popular columns was 6 tips for job hunting online. This is because sitting at your computer trying to figure out how to get past someone else’s computer is less stressful than connecting with real people to build a network. But really, you’re better off spending your time building a network than optimizing the keywords on your resume. When you have a network of people you’ve already helped, someone will push your resume past the automation process.

Two tidbits about etiquette
I think I’m pretty good about workplace etiquette, which, by the way, is everywhere etiquette, because the bottom line in etiquette is be considerate everywhere. But there are some times that I falter.

Geoffrey Fowler writes in CareerJournal how annoying it is when someone in the US says to someone working outside the US, “What time is it there, anyway?” I confess to having done this before. But I won’t do it again.

Another rule I have broken: Asking the unanswerable question via email. Guy Kawasaki wrote a funny and insightful post about this problem:

“Do not fabricate unanswerable questions… the open-ended question that is so broad it should be used in a job interview at Google. For example, ‘What do you think of the RIAA lawsuits?’ ‘What kind of person is Steve Jobs?’ ‘Do you think it’s a good time to start a company?’ My favorite ones begin like this: ‘I haven’t given this much thought, but what do you think about…?’ In other words, the sender hasn’t done much thinking and wants to shift responsibility to the recipient. Dream on.”