By now, you’ve probably heard networking is the only way you can advance your career.
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Because of this, you’ve been sending LinkedIn requests, attending networking events, and even setting up informational interviews. Although you’ve been putting a great amount of time into your networking efforts, you feel like nothing has paid off.
If you’re wondering why you’ve been unsuccessful at networking, here are six networking mistakes you’re making and how to fix them:
1. Not asking for help.
According to a new survey by OfficeTeam, four in 10 managers say not asking for help when networking is the biggest mistake people make.
The solution: Job seekers often fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need help during their job search. However, when you’re looking for a job, every bit of advice you can get helps.
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If you’re trying to network into a particular company or get your name known in an industry, don’t hesitate to ask your networks to help you connect with the right people. This will help you connect with more people who can help you during your job search.
2. Not staying in touch with your contacts.
Another mistake many job seekers make is not maintaining the relationships they build with their contacts. In fact, 28% of managers said this is another popular mistake job seekers make when networking.
The solution: It’s simple -- stay in touch with your contacts. Although networking and maintaining your connections is time consuming, it’s definitely worth it for your career.
Make the effort to follow up with your mentors, colleagues, and other contacts once a month via email or phone. Depending on whether you have online connections, you can also engage in conversation on social media.
As you keep in touch with your networks, be sure to keep them up-to-date about your career path. You should also be sharing relevant articles and information with them, as well as sending opportunities their way.
3. Not networking online.
If you’re not using the Internet to build up your networks, you’re making a huge mistake. Nearly half of managers believe online networking is the best way to create professional contacts.
The solution: Regardless of your field, make the effort to start networking online. There are endless things you can do; it’s just a matter of doing what best fits your expertise and goals.
LinkedIn is a good start for any professional because there is a variety of professional groups for virtually any industry. Considering 96% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, this is definitely a good place for you to connect with professionals and employers in your field.
4. Not meeting professionals in person.
Although you should be networking online, networking in person is absolutely necessary for job seekers. In fact, 28% of managers say you should be connecting with professionals in-person for coffee.
The solution: After you make a connection online, follow up with an in-person meeting. This is useful way for job seekers who are trying to network within a particular city to meet more professionals.
If you aren’t able to meet with people in-person, try scheduling phone interviews or Skype video meetings. This will help you supplement the emails or tweets you’ve exchanged with your online connections.
5. Not thanking people for their help.
Another mistake people make when networking is not saying “thank you.” OfficeTeam discovered that 17% of managers feel people are not thanking their connections enough for their help.
The solution: A handwritten thank you note or email goes a long way when networking. It’s a thoughtful way to let your connections know you appreciate their help and the relationship you’ve created.
6. Not helping others.
Many job seekers get into the mindset that networking is a one-way street. Unfortunately, this mindset can have a negative impact on your job search. Nearly 10% of managers believe this is another popular networking mistake.
The solution: Give back to your professional connections. For example, if one of your friends secured you a job interview with their employer, find a way you can return the favor. Whether it’s being their for them as they work towards their promotion or helping them find a mentor, this is a great way to help the people who help you during your job search.
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