Let’s face it- networking is a part of professional life, whether you are job hunting or not. People are always encouraged to make connections, and to network at all times during their various encounters during the day. The question becomes, if you’re networking so much, how come the opportunities aren’t just cascading down? There are many potential answers to this question, but one of the most common is that you might be making some very common networking mistakes. Mistakes that I bet you don’t even realize you’re making. Here are a few of them.
Mistake # 1: Constant Self-Promotion
Sure, you’ve got a great product or service, and you know that you can give the next potential boss or customer what they want, so you tell absolutely everyone about yourself, all the time. Your enthusiasm may sound vibrant and alive to you, but to those who are constantly hearing the same thing, it can get a little tiring. Show some genuine interest in those around you, and they’ll return the favor.
Mistake # 2: Expectations for Help
We’re always taught that networking isn’t about what you know, but about who you know. However it’s never a good idea to rely on those connections to help you find your next opportunity. Instead, don’t rely on others, do the leg work yourself, and show appreciation when a contact passes a good thing along.
Mistake # 3: Not Showing Appreciation
Let’s face it, when you finally do get the break you need, it’s partially due to someone else either giving you the opportunity or pointing you in the right direction. It behooves you to show your appreciation for their help.
Mistake # 4: Having No Follow Through
The last networking gathering you attended, you made some great connections, and make promises to send them your portfolio as soon as you get home. As the night goes on, more and more connections are made by everyone. You wonder if that portfolio will even be that important by the morning. Should you even bother sending it?
Yes, yes you should, and without hesitation. One of the most damaging mistakes that networkers make is not following up on an opportunity. Sending a gentle reminder, as well as your portfolio can mean the difference between a seized opportunity and a missed one.
Mistake # 5: Forgetting to Return the Favor
Another common mistake that networkers make is to forget to return the favor to those who have helped them. Everyone knows how busy you are; they’re probably in a very similar situation. It’s only polite to take a few minutes and help another person out if you can.
Mistake # 6: Giving Up
It’s been said that networking is a long term investment. It could take months or even years to get the right opportunity, and if you give up too soon, you could miss out on the best success of your professional life. Even when everything seems hopeless, remember that there is always time to try again, in a different way. Never give up hope.