Networking is an essential part of the professional world now a days. It is currently one of the best ways to land a career, get promotions or expand a business. Social networking sites are becoming the new resumes that recruiters and hiring managers use to screen applicants. Not only can networking help you in getting the job or the connection you desire, but it can also create opportunities for you that you have not even thought of. So how do you network with people? More importantly, how do you do it right?
The first thing you want to do when you network with others is to polish things on your end. If you are networking with people in person, pay close attention to how you present yourself. Starting from what you wear to what you discuss. It is crucial that you take the right steps when connecting with a prospective employer, business partner or customer. You want to make certain that you use the time you have effectively to leave a great impression. If you are networking online, the first step to take is with your own profile. Whatever social networking site you are on, make sure that your profile only has necessary information and things that you are only proud of. It is no longer a secret that people look up others online before contacting them and that they will only do so as long as they like what they see. Having all your personal life displayed online is not the best way to advertise yourself in the professional world. Have a decent and well put together profile.
The second part of the equation is how and when do you network. You don’t want to come off as being needy or desperate. Here are a few things that can make you look desperate while networking. Stay away from these actions if possible!
- Networking Indiscriminately
Yes, people encourage you to go out and network with others – that it is highly beneficial. While this is true, it has its consequences. If you are at an event, talking to almost everyone and handing out your business card to multiple people, it draws a negative attention towards you. People want to network with people that value their connections. Sending invitations to people without any relevant interaction, connecting with individuals from every field, and just connecting with way too many people might not always work for your advantage.
- Being too Persistent
Persistence is an admirable trait, but not so much, if you do too much of it in networking. Hardly ever do you find individuals who network with others only to benefit the other party. The reality is, people want to network with others for their own benefits. Thus, when you are too persistent in contacting people, not only does it make you seem desperate, it also makes you appear very self-centered. In contrast, there is no problem with reaching out to people hoping that they can assist you in one way or another. In fact, that is the whole point of networking.
- Asking anyone (even people you don’t know) for references
People put weight on who you are connected with as well as who recommends you, whether that is through reference letters, recommendations, endorsements, referrals, etc. These factors can alter the decisions individuals or businesses make about you. The best way you can ensure good recommendations from others is by excelling in what you do. There is no shortcut to success. What you do not want to do is ask for a “favor” and send out requests to people to endorse you, recommend you, or anything similar without having a strong connection with them. This can work against you even if they agree to do so. They will most likely not pay as much attention to the other recommendations and so forth that you may have, assuming that you got them the same way instead of earning them.
- Being willing and up for anything (even if you have no skill in the area)
This is probably one of the best ways to show that you are desperate. If you are sitting in an interview, or talking to a prospective client, explaining how there is nothing you cannot do, that you will take all measures to ensure “their” satisfaction is not going to be a good seller for you. It is one things to show determination and to elaborate how much of a dedicated person you are. It is another thing to try to convince others that nothing is too big for you to handle. It is harder to believe the latter, even if you mean it all in good intention.
These are a few tips to keep in mind while you are networking. There is no definite strategy in connecting with people. It all depends on the situation. However, there are certain things you can avoid to make sure that you do not come off as being needy or desperate.
Lexacount Search is grateful for Bezawit Dabi’s hard work and research assistance. This posting would not have been possible without her exploration of this topic area.