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The Dos and Don’ts of Networking: Avoiding Common Mistakes
It cannot be emphasized enough the value and benefits of networking the right way, therefore professionals should schedule it into their day. Additionally, employers often have referral programs where their employees provide the names of potential employees, so making networking mistakes can prevent a qualified job seeker from getting hired. Here is a list of the dos and don’ts of networking so that you will avoid common mistakes.
Dos of Networking
- Craft and share your 30-second elevator pitch to let others know you are interested in new employment opportunities.
- Social media networking is important, but so is meeting face-to-face. Schedule meetings with your online contacts who are in your area, and attend two Meet-ups or networking events each month. A face-to-face meeting is a more effective way to build relationships.
- Always follow through. Whenever you make contacts at a networking event, do what you promised to do. And connect with them on social media. As a job seeker, it is your responsibility to follow-up with the people who you meet.
- Ask for help. Many job seekers go it alone during job search because they think they do not need assistance. By letting your contacts know you are interested in their advice on seeking new employment opportunities, more leads will come your way, allowing you to secure a new job faster.
- Build a solid profile on LinkedIn, personalize the URL, and use it in your email signature.
- Stay in touch with your network of contacts so that you are top of mind. Ways to do this include scheduling lunches, forwarding articles of interests, inviting people to events they may be interested in, or simply sending an email every so often.
- Identify and mention companies that you are targeting in your job search. You never know who you have in your network that can introduce you to someone in a target company.
- Share your past accomplishments with networking contacts so that they feel comfortable referring you because they have confidence in your capabilities.
- Set measureable networking goals to accelerate your job search. For example, you could schedule three meetings each week, and attend two networking events each month.
- Schedule informational interviews to get intelligence on roles that you are interested in.
- Remember to say “Thank-you!” Life gets busy, but it is important to express gratitude to your networking contacts.
- Give back! Find ways to return the favor to those who have helped you. Networking is about relationships, and relationships are about give and take.
How to Conduct an Informational Interview
How to Grow and Manage Your Network of Contacts on LinkedIn
Don’ts of Networking
- Instead of asking someone if he has heard of any job openings, instead say, “let me know if you hear of anything.” The difference is subtle, but very important because it takes the pressure off the contact.
- Do not ask anyone to distribute your resume, your job search is your responsibility. If a contact is interested, he will offer to do so without any prodding from you.
- When you get voice mail messages, do not ask the person to return your call, instead, close with, “Sorry that I missed you, I’ll try again. If you would like to reach me earlier, feel free to call me at…” This gives the person an option of whether to call.
- Do not expect results in record time. Networking is about building relationships, which takes time.
- Do not present a non-professional image. Be mindful of your status updates and the photos that you post online.
- Do not limit your network of contacts. Do not be exclusive about who you admit into your sphere. Expand your network to include professionals at varying experience levels, not just your peers. And look outside your industry for potential contacts. You never know who might have the right connections.
- Don’t give up. Even if those you meet aren’t able to help you, don’t give up because networking is first and foremost about building relationships and not about what you can get. Maintain your network, be grateful for your contacts, and your attitude ultimately will lead to new opportunities.
Networking gives you access to new opportunities, and making it a part of your day ensures that you are always top-of-mind.
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