Don't Just Be A Taker


It’s early in the morning. Still blurry eyed, I’m scouring my LinkedIn feed. Between heaping spoonfuls of oatmeal, a message pops up from someone I don’t know.

“Hi, Neil. My name is ____________. I’m finishing my last year of studies at ____________ and wanted to inquire about possible positions at your company. Attached is my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Now I’m awake…and annoyed.

This person doesn’t know me. This person didn’t mention anything about my business. From the message, it’s not even clear what type of job this person wants. All I know is that this person wants a job.

People often talk about networking as an effective strategy for getting a job. Yes, networking is important. Why? Because networking is all about building relationships. You know what relationships are about? Give AND take.

The person who emailed me is a taker, only concerned with what I can do for him. But what about me? What can he do for me? Why should I want to help him?

Giving is as important (if not more important) as taking. What this person should have done is find out about me and my business. What do I do? Why do I do it? Where does he think he can help me? How can he help me RIGHT NOW? Whenever I contact someone, I always come with something in hand. I give. A white paper of interest. An upcoming event of interest. Something…of interest to the person I’m contacting. People remember these kinds of things. They remember you as someone who is helpful and not just looking out for yourself. They remember you as a giver, not a taker.

And as for the person who contacted me on LinkedIn? His message went straight to the recycle bin. I don’t care for takers.

Neil Thompson

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Neil Thompson is a speaker, writer, and founder of Teach the Geek, an online platform for STEM professionals. A former product development engineer, Neil has been published in the San Diego Business Journal, Mechanical Engineering magazine, Tech Directions magazine, and PsychCentral. He is a member of the San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange, San Diego Entrepreneurs Group, and Speakers Guild USA. To learn more about Neil, please visit