No matter how talented a business owner is or how in-demand his or her products are, a company can’t succeed without reaching the right people. Though networking, both face-to-face and online, has become a necessary staple of the job search process, some job seekers still seem to get it wrong. For most of us, networking takes time and effort. You need an understanding of how valuable connections are made and why they’re necessary to improve job seekers’ chances of achieving career success. Let’s look at a few networking mistakes job seekers often make:
1. The Hard Seller
Certainly, networking requires some self-promotion; otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to determine who has similar backgrounds and interests. Unfortunately, some see networking as an opportunity to take self-promotion to the extreme, giving everyone they meet the “hard sell.” The goal of these hard sellers is to try to impress as many people as possible by talking about themselves as much as possible. This often produces the opposite of the intended results.
2. The Self-Server
While hard sellers will network with anyone willing to listen to them talk about their favorite subject (themselves), self-servers are only willing to network with those who they believe can help advance their careers. Once they target someone, they may also prove to be hard sellers.
3. The Poor Communicator
Communication is the backbone of nearly every job, and it’s rare to find a successful employee with poor communication skills. Therefore, when networking with professionals who can help launch or advance one’s career, it’s imperative to demonstrate strong communication skills from the first interaction.
4. The Bad First Impression
As the saying goes, first impressions last. Making a bad first impression can be hard to overcome when networking with well-connected industry professionals. Job seekers should always be cognizant of how they’re being perceived by those with whom they hope to form lasting professional relationships.
5. Failure to Follow Up
Those who fail to follow up, who call at the wrong time, or who simply forget to call prove that their reliability is questionable, and recommending them for employment becomes a risk if they were to show similar unreliability at work.
Networking is often the first step in the job search process; therefore, it should be treated with the same dedication and professionalism as job interviews or work functions. Just like a successful career, networking can’t be achieved overnight but requires an investment in time. Those who approach it with a professional, friendly, selfless, and persistent attitude will eventually see positive results.