You’ve heard time and time again that networking is the key to developing your career, but how do you ensure that you’re behaving in a way that will create and not limit opportunities for you? Here are common mistakes that you need to avoid if you want to grow your network:
Failing to say thank you. When you’re dealing with people, a little bit of appreciation goes a long way. A simple thank you will make your contacts a lot more willing to help you in the future.
Being self-centred. So many people approach networking completely focused on what they can get out of it. Don’t make that mistake. Once people detect that you’re only there out of self-interest, they will quickly lose interest in you. If you instead approach networking by trying to get to know other people and seeing how you can help them, your network will quickly expand.
Looking like a slob. When you meet a new person, they generally form an opinion of you before you even open your mouth to speak. You are able to create a lot more opportunities for yourself when you are clean and professionally dressed than you are when you look like you just crawled out of bed.
Losing sight of why you’re there. When you’re at a networking event it’s important that you stay focused. Don’t let yourself get distracted by the food or by conversations that have little to do with your career. Talk to people and build relationships, but never forget why you’re there.
For the most part, the secret to networking is to just get out there and meet people, but if you’re making big mistakes, you could be doing yourself more harm than good. Stay focused, behave courteously and always maintain your professionalism, and you will quickly build a vibrant network that will open doors for you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)