There’s some truth to the saying that “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. But this is only part of the whole truth. A more precise expression is “It’s not who you know, but who knows what you know.” Networking is both a way of life and a skill that can expose you to many personal and career opportunities. It’s too important to ignore if you want to land your dream job. Unfortunately, networking can be a minefield of professional faux pas if you’re not careful. Akhtaboot is here to highlight the top networking mistakes you might be making, and how to avoid each before your contacts start ignoring your calls.
Adding no Value
Networking shouldn’t be all about collecting contacts; you need to cultivate meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, too many people are focused on what the other person can do for them. If you don’t add value to your network, they will start to ignore you. Listen to what your contacts have to say and show interest in their personal and professional goals. Offer to give value by linking similar people in your network. Look for a way to give back to your connections, and they’ll be much more likely to return the favor.
Failing to Keep in Touch
Few people take the time to follow-up after they have made initial contact with a prospect. This is not a smart thing to do as meeting someone is just the first step in networking. In order to create a lasting relationship and make sure people don’t forget you, you need to follow up, every single time. Look for ways to keep the connection alive. Share useful articles with them, meet for lunch, and acknowledge accomplishments. Don’t connect only when you need a favor.
You’re Not Selective
The classic behavior at networking events is to try to exchange business cards with a lot of people. But after the event many of these cards become meaningless. A smarter rule of thumb for networking events is to focus on building one or two genuine new relationships that are worth a bunch of business cards. Quite simply, it’s difficult to form a quality relationship with quality communication if you’re not willing to invest some time in the process.
Ignoring your Niche
Too many professionals look for general networking events or career fairs to score a job. One of the best ways to network effectively is to focus on your industry niche. By doing so, you will be able to build meaningful connections. Whatever might be your niche, you should know the niche job boards, social media channels and networking events frequented by those in your industry. A few important niche contacts are worth a thousand LinkedIn connections in completely random fields.
Stop Networking Once You Find a Good Job
Losing contact with your network right after you land a great job will send a strong message that you only keep in touch to extract value from them. Keep networking, even when you’re no longer looking for a job. Send occasional updates about your career interests and accomplishments and offer to help a contact whenever you can. Let people in your network know about your long-term career ambitions.