The relationships you form throughout your professional life are crucial to your success. These connections can be beneficial to you and current/future employers. Therefore it’s important to make an effort to maintain these relationships over time and ensure you never burn those bridges. You may be the person who refers a terrific asset to your organization!
Whether you are a beginner learning how to network, seeking a career change, or a seasoned job seeker, growing your network is in your best interest to ensure a sustainable career path. Here are three networking faux pas that could be holding you back from your attempts at expanding your professional network.
Your first mistake might just be that you aren’t networking at all. Just adding random professionals on your LinkedIn profile to grow your number of connections isn’t going to be sufficient. Research job fairs at local colleges or important networking events in your area, and get out there! Attend symposiums for industries that aren’t typically on your radar or brainstorm non-traditional forms of networking such as virtual communities in your area of interest. If you don’t have a ton of experience in these social networking settings, you have to rip off that bandage and get started – practice makes perfect!
Most have heard of an elevator pitch, but a better term these days is “networking opener”. Instead of forcing a sales pitch of your career aspirations during networking events, you need to craft it as a conversation. Listen intently to the individuals you're engaging with, maintain eye contact and provide genuine responses. Networking is about making connections with people. Focus on conveying the value proposition you can offer them, instead of what you need or what you are looking for. Ensuring that you have a strategy in your mind about how you will position your personal brand to the professionals at these events will leave you feeling confident and prepared to establish a pool of new relationships.
Do you have that friend who you see infrequently but in passing they say, “Let’s grab lunch soon? Can’t wait to catch up!”, and you never reconnect? Losing touch can easily happen while networking as well because there is a desire to be polite through the act of showing interest to avoid any uncomfortable or awkward interaction.
The easiest way to lose the credibility you worked to establish in your initial networking interaction is by failing to follow through on your plans and conversations. If you clearly stated that you would be reaching out on LinkedIn or you’ve already set up a date for an informal coffee meet-up, then fulfill that verbal commitment. If you aren’t interested, it is OK to be open and honest. You want to establish and then prove through your follow-up behaviors that you are a reliable, respectful professional who values the personal relevance of a growing network of relationships.
Keep these three networking tips in mind as you continue to build your professional network, and you'll continue to maintain close business relationships.
WilsonCTS is a leading global provider of contingent talent solutions committed to finding the right employees at the right time for its clients. Providing a full suite of services — including contract staffing, permanent placement and temp-to-perm — WilsonCTS acts as a seamless extension of its clients’ talent acquisition function. WilsonCTS leads the industry in flexibility and scalability, and has the people, processes and technology to help clients recruit highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals in even the most demanding of situations.