We often talk about the best ways to network – but what about the wrong ways to do it? If you’re a career fisherman looking for that perfect catch, I recommend you learn from other people’s mistakes before making them yourself!
1. Using the “casting the net” approach. This happens when speaking too broadly about professional experiences or generalizing about your skill sets. How is this going to set you apart from others?
2. Casting with the wrong bait. This is almost always a result of not knowing enough about your career target. Know what you’re going after, and drive home the message of your worth.
3. Fishing in the wrong pond. Networking with the wrong people will never lead you to your target. If you do find yourself in a situation where you know the people in the room aren’t the kinds of decision makers you want to connect with, don’t be afraid to share what your focus is. Control the meeting and discover how this person can help you find someone who can help you.
4. Making one-way connections. Networking is a two-way street. The people you meet are likely looking for a way to add value to their career, too. Ask questions like, “What is going on that you need help with? Is that the kind of thing I can help with?”
5. Not having a method for tracking networking meetings. Once you’ve left a networking opportunity, your job isn’t done! You need to log names of contacts, leads you received on jobs, and/or next steps you agreed upon. There’s actually an online system already in place to assist this very thing at jibberjabber.com. It’s designed to help you keep all of your information organized in one convenient place.