Every job seeker knows the significance of networking these days. Be it offline, online or in-person, having the right connections definitely counts! But despite the fact that often your career advancement hinges on who’s in your network, several jobseekers still discount the benefits of networking. While some simply jump onto the bandwagon without having a clear strategy and end up hurting their career in the process. The fact is- nobody’s born with the art of networking, you learn it through plenty of trial and error.
Professional networking is one of most powerful tools job seekers can use during their job search. But networking isn’t always fun; you need to get the word out and tap the right connections that could benefit you in your career down the road. But the unstated rules of several social-networking websites evolve every day, it’s all too easy to commit online gaffes and disrupt your career progression goals.
Here are Five Common Missteps to Evade:
Connecting with people you don’t know:
While it’s absolutely ok to connect with industry professionals you’re not familiar with for guidance on your career or job search, a lot of people push this civility to its limit. By no means ask an employee at the company where you wish to apply to recommend you for a role or to refer your resume to the hiring manager. This is highly unprofessional and impolite. Rather than connecting with people randomly, look for an opportunity to introduce yourself, or find a common contact to initiate the introduction for you. It’s a more organic way of connecting and is likely to be more successful. Emails or cold calls typically annoy the recipients.
Becoming a job-search bore:
Very few people would walk into meetings and enquire about job leads but many veteran professionals execute the online version of this faux pas frequently. No matter how worried you are about being jobless or how well you know people, never seem desperate about your job search in your initial message to anyone. You have to build a rapport with someone first before you can initiate discussing career prospects.
Not stating your value proposition clearly
You want to be to the point, clear-cut and candid while interacting with the bigwigs. Senior professionals are hard pressed for time to dig through all the requests they get to figure out the genuine ones. You need to be extremely explicit about your value propositions. Be familiar with the work of the people you wish to connect with and have a cautiously chalked out plan to help them accomplish their goals. Create an effective selling pitch–one that directly addresses their pain points.
Not Staying In Touch regularly
It’s not enough to connect with someone just once. Professional networking requires building lasting relationships. It’s vital to both cast a wider net and build meaningful associations. For relationships to evolve you need to invest time and interact multiple times. Make a constant effort to find ways to connect with people you want. You can share relevant updates like events or articles they might find important. You can also offer to introduce people that they might benefit from knowing.
Being excessively informal:
You don’t have to necessarily talk like a buttoned-up professional, but you also don’t want to talk in the same manner you would talk to your best buddy down at the bar. Vulgarity and profanity has absolutely no place in networking. Great if you make personal connections with a person. But, there are boundaries that you should never cross while building professionals acquaintances.
There is a very thin line between “checking in” with people and never leaving them alone. Don’t become a pest, whether in person or over social media. But do remember to keep doing your subtle follow ups on a regular basis. Send e-mails every now and then to your contacts or call them to schedule meetings, but don’t go overboard. The last thing you want to do is annoy people and rub them the wrong way.
Only focusing on the big cheese:
Of course, there are people you would want to talk to — the HR at an organisation or the exceptionally successful entrepreneur. But there might be others as well worth connecting. So don’t blindly chase the herd and focus only on the bigger names. Instead, mingle and discover connections who are interesting and could leverage you professionally. Eventually you’ll possibly talk with a few big names in the industry but also bump into people who might be the hidden gems.
Networking effectively means being connected with your contacts even when you’re lucratively employed. Till the time you avoid some of these familiar pitfalls, networking could be the key to finding you your next job.