With the world ‘getting smaller’ through increased social fluidity, the increasing affordability and accessibility of international travel and the evolution of the Internet as a social tool, networking is becoming a more common and sophisticated job search and professional development strategy.
Networking is certainly a useful and effective tool for the job seeker, but only if used in the right way. For a comprehensive and well structured guide to networking effectively read this 135 Networking Career Tips pdf eBook.
As networking is something that comes naturally to very few of us, it is completely understandable to make networking mistakes without even realizing we’re making them. Once we’re aware of the common networking mistakes we’re vulnerable to, however, we can work on cutting them out and refining our networking techniques to the point where they play a crucial part in scoring us the job we want. Here are 5 common networking mistakes to avoid:
- Add someone to your network just because they exist. Add them to your network because they share the same interests as you. If you’re not interested in one another, you are unlikely to be able to really help one another with anything so why bother? Connect with relevant people. Successful networkers and job hunters connect with the right people, not the most people.
- Be fake. If you’re just networking for the sake of building up a vast collection of business cards or social media followers and fans, people will soon suss you out. No one wants to employ someone who comes across as insincere. Be genuinely interested in each person you meet and want to build a connection with. And if you don’t find the person interesting, why are you trying to connect with them? Because they’re your key to a new job? If you need to use people of no interest to you to land a particular job, then it’s probably a job that would also bore you.
- Talk only about yourself–that will get very boring, very fast for the other person or people in the ‘conversation’. We all like being asked about ourselves, so ask people you meet about themselves and they’ll soon warm up to you.
- Just sell, sell, sell.. It’s easy to fall into the networking trap of pushing yourself and what you believe you have to offer onto others. Most people, however, whether on their favourite social media site or at business networking event, aren’t there to ‘buy’. So have conversations instead of just talking at people. The best way to ‘sell’ yourself is to be yourself, not a walking sales pitch.
- Give up on giving. If you help someone with something in the hope they’ll help you with your job hunt, don’t expect anything back immediately. If this person could genuinely act as a job lead or introduce you to someone who is, commit to consistently giving to them and you’ll soon stick in their memory. If someone gives you lots of presents each week, month or year, you remember them and at some point you start thinking that maybe you should buy them a present…