The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Robert Kiyosaki
The most common networking mistake people make is to approach it thinking it’s just about getting a job. Networking is much more than that, it is a long term career growing strategy which needs to be worked at constantly. Unfortunately that is not the only networking mistake people make, some may seem obvious while others you may not even realise you are making.
Take a look at the 5 most common networking mistakes and adjust your approach to make sure the time you invest creates quality and useful relationships with people who can help you over the course of your career.
5 Worst Networking Mistakes
- Networking Only When You Are Job Seeking
In addition to thinking that networking is just about landing your next job, the most common networking mistake people make is to start networking only when they are actually looking for a new role. Networking is ongoing, it’s not just for a few months until you get a job offer. Think about it, when you are looking for a job you are more likely to be desperate for help and this will come across in your networking efforts. You will make better contacts when you are employed and secure in your role and not under the pressure of finding a new job.
Always follow up with all new contacts
Make time to regularly connect with existing contacts
- No Preparation Work
Sometime networking is spontaneous like meeting someone out of the blue at a social or family event. Other times, in fact many times it occurs at work events, fund raisers even dedicated networking events. Being unprepared is a huge networking mistake. Find out who will be attending and research them thoroughly. Learn where they work, what their role is and what they like to do socially. All this knowledge creates opportunities for conversation and connection and makes you look professional and prepared.
Google people you want to find out about
- No Clear Plan
Networking without a plan is simply a waste of everyones time. Similarly, thinking you have a plan is not the same as actually having one. Take the time to decide what exactly you are aiming for, who is best placed to help you and what can you offer them that makes the relationship mutually beneficial. Once you have nailed that, write a clear elevator pitch and learn it so you are ready to approach the people you need.
Don’t just talk at people, be a good listener
Ask questions and ask for peoples opinions. People like to give advice and feel better about those willing to ask for it.
You may think that a small lie like “Our mutual friend XX suggested I chat to you about….” is a great way to open a dialogue with someone you really want to meet BUT it only works if the information is actually true. Sooner or later they will figure out you lied and that will mean they will close the door on that relationship forever. Do not lie about your education, qualifications or contacts. Eventually you will get caught out and bad word of mouth is the last thing you need.
- Use and Abuse
Forgetting about those who have helped you the second you get a what you need is not just a serious networking mistake it’s also just plain rude. Remember that you will change jobs many times during your working life and interact with hundreds of different people so make sure you don’t take a short sighted approach to networking. Once you land a job make sure you:
Call all those who have helped you and let them know you found a job
Thank them for all of their help
Stay in touch regularly
Help them in return if you can
Being aware of the most common networking mistakes is the first step in avoiding them. You should also make sure you read up on: