Networking your way into a job is the best way to get a job. Considering that most opportunities aren’t advertised on job boards or company sites, the best way to job hunt is to meet employers. Connecting with employers on LinkedIn or better yet meeting them in person at a careers fair or networking event, are two excellent ways of getting your foot in the door of any company.
See Also: A Guide to Networking for Shy People
However, whether you manage to make a good impression or not will depend on how you choose to approach them. If you don’t want to blow your chances of getting noticed – you need to be aware of these common pitfalls that you are likely to fall into when you are approaching other professionals:
Going in Unprepared
The most effective way to ensure your networking efforts will pay off is to approach each person with a plan in place. Not thinking about your next move, will – in one way or another – leave you confused and not knowing what to say. Before you attend an event – or send an email to an employer hoping to connect, you need to prepare in advance what you will do or say. Think about who you want to meet at the event and have your elevator pitch ready. Also, don’t forget to take your business cards with you since you never know when they might come in handy.
Selling at Every Opportunity
While selling your skills at every opportunity sounds just like the one thing you need to do at a networking event, it is best to be avoided. If you approach someone and within seconds you start talking about yourself and giving away your business card without the other person asking for it, you know this isn’t going to end well. Every successful encounter with another professional must be sincere. So let the other person know that you are interested in them and what they have to say before you bust your moves. Chill out, it’s not like you are selling a car.
Sending Someone to Replace You at the Event
If you choose not to attend the event, you take the risk of missing out on important networking opportunities. But delegating someone to do this for you is worse. If you can’t go, just let it go, you will get it next time. It is better to send employers an email after the event – even if they haven’t met you – instead of asking your mom or your friend to attend the event and talk to employers about you. This is called professionalism.
Sticking to Your Circle of Contacts
Not making the effort to make new connections is the opposite of networking. If you just prefer to stick to your existing circle of contacts, then you might as well abandon your networking mission. The best way to make the most of your network is to go beyond your friends and peers. Meeting new people is going to help you make more business contacts even when you are doing so while you are at a social gathering e.g. birthday or holiday party. In order to make the most of networking, try to approach at least two new contacts everytime you are out.
Not Following Up
Promising that you will contact other professionals but hen not doing so is bad job hunting practice. Employers will think you don’t care enough about the job and ask themselves why they should care about you in return. Following up is a sign of appreciation so let employers know that you value the time they gave you by sending them a thank-you note or simply an email.
If you want to find a job in 2016, then you need to make sure you do everything to avoid these networking mistakes that might just be killing your chances of getting hired. Start making the most of your networking opportunities by expanding your circle of contacts – not the other way around.
So, have you ever made any of these mistakes? How did it go with the employer? Let me know in the comments section below…