Networking can uncover hidden job opportunities, as long as professionals avoid some common errors. Mistakes are easy to make, especially for those who are out of practice.
Here are several common networking missteps and tips to avoid them:
Limiting your circle of contacts – Expand your network to include professionals at varying levels, not just your peers. Also look outside your industry for potential contacts.
Overlooking new venues – Networking isn't just for business occasions. Make an effort to meet new contacts at social gatherings, and always carry business cards with you.
Having a hidden agenda – Be upfront about the assistance you seek, and prepare a 15-second pitch. Others will appreciate your candor and be better able to help you.
Being overly aggressive – While it's important to communicate regularly with people in your network, avoid becoming a disruption.
Failing to write down pertinent information – After meeting a new contact, jot down a few notes about your conversation on the back of the person's business card.
Lacking appreciation – Always let people know you value their help. A simple thank-you note or email is appropriate.