In an age when so much of the job-search process is conducted online, the importance of standing out becomes all too clear. Using networking as a tool to develop relationships with potential employers can help distinguish you from the thousands of other job-seekers out there and ultimately land you the position you want.
With the rise of social media and sites like LinkedIn, networking is an integral part of job-hunting. However, if you want to be an effective networker, you need to avoid some common mistakes. Fast Company outlines eight frequent errors that can prevent you from networking successfully. Here are some highlights:
1. Sending a resume without being asked. This can detract from the conversation you’re trying to have. Hiring managers suggest that if they want to help you, they’ll ask for your resume; but sending it unsolicited can make it seem forced.
2. Being unprepared for the first meeting. Having a tight narrative highlighting experience and future goals demonstrates that you are serious and ready. Come prepared to run the meeting.
3. Misusing LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a tool that has made it possible to connect with nearly anyone, but if you are not using the site correctly, you are missing out on its potential. The number-one mistake is failing to provide context when sending a connection request to someone. Make sure the request says who you are, how the person you’re reaching out to may know you, and why he/she should accept your request.
4. Not following up after meeting. It’s best to follow up within 24 hours, and not just through LinkedIn; send the person an email letting them know you enjoyed meeting them and hope to see them again. To help the contact remember who you are, reference something funny or interesting from your conversation.
It’s also important to keep in mind that networking can come in many forms, not just online. Attending professional networking events as well as non-work-related parties are great ways to meet and connect with new people. Tapping into your personal circle of family, friends and community members can also help expand your group of potential contacts.
And be sure to use Cancer and Careers’ Networking Tracker to keep your list of new acquaintances organized.
For additional help with the job-hunting process, consult our Job Search Tools.