As head of a job placement firm, I’ve seen a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding a job. Networking, while a powerful strategy for landing a new career opportunity, can be done in such a way that it limits your chances rather than expands them. Here are five of the most common networking blunders and some strategies to correct them.
- You go to a networking event and become a wallflower because you don’t know anyone.
The whole point of being there is to meet NEW people. My best advice is to find and start talking to another wallflower. They are probably just as nervous as you are and will be very relieved when you start a conversation.
If you need to, set a pre-event goal to talk to at least three new people over the course of the event. Having a measureable goal can help you overcome your shy tendencies.
- You meet someone and you do not have a business card. You need to have a quick, professional-looking way for people to get a hold of you. Get a simple card made and hand it out. Make sure it clearly explains what you do.
People get many cards and you want them to remember why they have yours. When you’re job hunting be sure to always have your business cards on you. You never know when or where you might have a conversation that leads to your next position.
- You think networking only happens at specific, industry events. Actually networking includes everyone, everywhere. You need to make sure everyone knows that you are looking for work including family and friends.
Don’t forget to spread the word on your social media. Once all your friends know, they can pass the word on to their friends.
- You don’t maintain a neat, well-groomed appearance.
Since you have now learned that you are constantly networking, try to always look presentable. This does not mean that you have to always be wearing a dress or tie, but ditch anything (temporarily) that you wouldn’t want to be seen in if a job opportunity came about. That goes for your accessories and vehicle too.
- You’re so desperate to find a job that you come on too strong. It can be scary to be out of work, and finding a new job can dominate your thoughts as well as your conversation. The problem with desperation is that it makes people uncomfortable and hinders their ability to connect with you. Try and be friendly and inviting, not needy. People like people who they can relate to. Find a common area of conversation as soon as you can. Once a bond is started, the possibilities can begin.
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2011 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.
Catherine Lang-Cline is co-founder and owner of Portfolio Creative, a workforce innovation firm that was named a fastest growing company in by Inc. magazine in 2009 and 2010. Portfolio Creative helps companies streamline and innovate their creative workforce to save time, energy and money. www.portfolioiscreative.com.