Networking is tough, isn’t it? Especially if you are young, and just barely out of school, and especially if you are a bit of an introvert. But you need to get over it because knowing the right people is one of the most important things in life.
See Also: How to Network Smartly
Most employers prefer candidates who are referred to them, especially if they come from internal referrals. In fact, the percentage of new hires in major companies from internal referrals is a whopping 45 percent. So with almost half new employees coming from the hidden job market, it’s important to realize that you need to up your networking game.
And as usual, we are here to help! We’ve put together a list of five wrong ways to network, so read on to see if you’ve been doing anything wrong:
1. Only Networking When You Need a Job
Unfortunately for all of us, you can’t wake up one day and have a network; you need time to build your network, so you can’t leave it until you are unemployed and looking for a job. Remember that you need to network constantly and you need to take an interest in the other professionals in your field, while you also need to actively seek out new people to add to your network.
2. Only Talking About Yourself
Obviously, you are going to want to talk about yourself when you meet someone. You are going to want to tell them what it is that you do, why you do it, and what your mission is, but it can’t be all about you. You need to provide the other person with ample time to explain what it is they do and why they do it. This will make the connection deeper, and yourself more memorable, especially if you are actively engaged in the conversation.
3. Only Networking During Networking Events
While networking events provide you with a great opportunity to meet professionals in your field, you shouldn’t limit yourself to those opportunities to network. Remember that every person you meet has networking potential, so try to engage with them and what they do professionally. You’ll find that most people will somehow fit into your network. So try to take up any opportunity to meet with new professionals, tell them about yourself, and hear what they have to say. You never know who or what you will find!
4. Never Following Up
The important thing to remember about networking is that it’s not just about meeting people. You need to keep that relationship going after you’ve met them. You don’t want to seem like you are just using people, so try to engage with them as often as you can. For example, if something shows up in your mail that you think might interest John, who’s just starting his startup, forward it to him and ask how he’s doing. Don’t forget to remind people in your network that you’d like to help them any way you can and also actively try to introduce them to new people.
5. Never Thanking Anyone
As we discussed in the introduction, major companies now opt for internal referrals, so if a person in your network refers you and you have the opportunity to go to an interview because they referred you, you should definitely call them, or email them to tell them how it went. Don’t forget to thank them from the bottom of your heart for the opportunity they’ve offered you with and remind them that should they ever need your help with anything, you’ll be there.
Can you think of any other networking mistakes people make? Share with us in the comment section below.