5 Networking Mistakes & How to Fix Them

Networking is an absolute must in today’s world of work. Your network is often the primary resource to find new opportunities, and being part of a network to someone else is an important aspect of the job search. But I often see people making networking mistakes, sometimes out of ignorance and sometimes out of forgetfulness. Your network is a super important part of your job search, so you want to treat it right. Here are five of the biggest networking mistakes I’ve seen, plus some quick ways to fix them.

  1. Neglecting face-to-face networking. The internet is a wonderful tool. It provides knowledge on many topics, and can connect someone in Austin, Texas to someone in Milan, Italy in a matter of moments. However, this means that many people neglect networking in person. This can cause a myriad of problems. Talking in person to someone gives them a tangibility which is, quite simply, lacking over the internet.
    • How to fix it: Go to networking events two or three times a month. Ask people out for coffee or tea. Call them on the phone. Make sure that you are getting face time with members of your network on a regular basis.
  2. Being too vague. Lacking specificity will kill your networking faster than you can say, “I don’t know what I want.” Being directionless, although it may seem safer because you aren’t “limiting” yourself, will ultimately end up hurting you.
    • How to fix it: Do some soul searching up front and determine a focus for your career. Having a specific goal in mind will make articulating that goal to your network much easier. It will help chart a course for your career development. Not sure how to pick a career focus? Career Solutions Group can help you identify one!
  3. Not being professional. This can be a big issue, especially in the online world. Even if you’ve done a great job managing your privacy settings, you need to be cautious what information you put out about your personal life. Such information can reflect poorly on the job seeker, especially when they are trying to present a crisp, confident image of themselves.
    • How to fix it: Take down those embarrassing high school photos. Think carefully about what you post before you post it. Look over your LinkedIn and make sure the photo is a good one, and the work descriptions are accurate, spelled right, and pointed in the correct direction. When communicating with your professional network, make sure your writing is competent, complete, and to the point.
  4. Not thanking your network. In the rush to find a new job opportunity, the people who help you find it can get lost. But when you don’t say thank you, you appear to be ungrateful for their support. The chances that they’ll help you again go down.
    • How to fix it: Simply shoot them an email or send a thank-you card. It doesn’t need to be elaborate; just make sure you are acknowledging their efforts. If you have trouble remembering to write and send thank you notes, consider putting a reminder in your planner or calendar.
  5. Ceasing to network when the job is done. You have finally found a good opportunity for yourself. You pat yourself on the back, send out your thank yous, and put your feet up after a long day’s work. Taking a break is perfectly fine, but if that break turns permanent, you may be kicking yourself when you need your network again.
    • How to fix it: Continue networking, even when you’re already set. Let your contacts know what your long-term plans are, what career aspirations you have for your future, and what your current plans are. This will help you find new opportunities in the future.

Networking can be stressful, but it can also be fun if you let it. If you need help learning how to networking or coming up with a connection strategy, email us at info@careersolutionsgroup.net. We offer free initial consultations and have helped hundreds of career changers make successful transitions.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group