We all know that
networking is the most effective way to find a job. But these six
mistakes can kill your networking efforts.
1) Not preparing
for the networking event and not having a plan of "attack." What do
I mean by preparation and a plan of attack?
- Find out who
else will be there and what companies/organizations will be represented.
(The organization arranging the event should have a guest list.)
- Learn as much
as you can about the different companies.
- You have to
be aggressive with your time, meaning, you must designate a certain
amount of time for each individual on your list.
- You have to
follow through closely and stick to the designated time limits with
- Don't forget
to take your business cards with you and use a different pocket
for those cards that you will be receiving from others.
2) Taking your
resume with you to a networking event.
You might be
shocked to hear this - don't take your resume with you when you
attend professional meetings. I'm talking about conferences, trade
shows, club meetings, cocktail parties and such. Do you really want
to be seen as a desperate person who walks around with a folder
full of resumes? Do you really want to juggle that folder and worry
about whether the resumes get wrinkled or not, how many you can
give away and whether the person you gave it to will remember where
he or she put it?
(Now, of course,
DO take your resume to job fairs and related career-events. Leave
them with the appropriate person and don't forget to record who
you gave your resume to so you can follow up within a couple of
weeks or so with a phone call.)
3) Not having
a PREPARED and REHEARSED 20 second "mini" speech/introduction about
You cannot just
show up blindly, thinking whatever happens will be OK.
A 20 seconds
mini speech is not too long. It's just enough for you to articulate
your expertise and let someone know what you are about. So, when
someone asks you what you do, give her or him your mini speech.
Don't be a generalist.
Don't just say: "I'm a Process Engineer and I work for Ford Motor
SPECIFIC. Say: "I'm a Process Engineer and my expertise lies in
providing cost effective solutions to complex process engineering
problems within the automotive industry."
4) Not finding
out how you could contribute.
Find out what problems the person you are talking to is facing within
his/her job and industry. Then, if appropriate, propose your possible
solution by lining up your matching skills. Basically, find out
how you could contribute, how you could help them solve a problem.
You will come
across as far more personable if you ask questions about the other
person instead of talking about yourself. Remember that people do
business with those they perceive as friendly and those that show
genuine interest in learning about the other person. So, by showing
an interest in the other person, you will accomplish two things:
learn about her or him and about their company's needs and will
show that you are personable and a good communicator. So, ask away!
You will reap great benefits.
6) Not sending
a thank you note.
Send a thank
you note to those that took the time to talk with you at the networking
event. Thank them for their time and again, subtly, let them know
about your expertise.
it was great talking to you at the XYZ conference. As a Website
Designer, I particularly enjoyed our talk regarding the future of
e-commerce and Internet technology.."