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Avoiding Networking Mistakes: A Guide to Successful Job Search​

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Networking is an essential aspect of job searching, but you may be making mistakes without realizing it. Even if you are well-versed in networking, it is crucial to avoid making errors. According to a study by the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis, your network can shave one to three months off your job search and increase your job satisfaction. Here are five networking mistakes to avoid in your job search.

Table of Contents

Dont Improvise

Relying on improvisation when networking can be risky, and the conversation may dry up, leaving you with an awkward silence. Instead, create a plan and stick to it. Come up with a few lines that can shift the conversation from small talk to the type of role you’re looking for. Additionally, think of meaningful questions to ask, and follow up on the questions insightfully.

When networking as part of your job search, it’s important not to improvise because it can lead to missed opportunities and damage your professional reputation. Networking requires careful planning and execution to be effective.

If you improvise, you may not have a clear idea of what you want to achieve or who you want to connect with. This can lead to wasted time and effort as you pursue leads that aren’t relevant to your job search. It can also cause you to come across as unprofessional or disorganized.

Additionally, improvising can result in missed opportunities to make valuable connections or gather useful information. By planning ahead and having specific goals in mind, you can ensure that you’re making the most of your networking efforts.

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Don't network only when you need something

Many people make the mistake of networking only when they’re looking for a job. Building relationships and trust takes time, so it’s best to make networking a regular part of your schedule, so you can build authentic connections.

When networking as part of your job search, it’s important not to only network when you need something because building strong relationships takes time and effort. If you only reach out to people when you need help or a favor, it can damage your reputation and make it harder to build lasting connections.

Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships, where both parties can offer something of value to each other. By only reaching out when you need something, you’re not offering any value to the other person, and they may feel used or taken advantage of.

Additionally, if you only network when you need something, you may miss out on valuable opportunities to connect with people who could help you in the future. Building strong relationships takes time and effort, and it’s important to invest in these relationships even when you don’t have an immediate need.

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Don't focus on quantity over quality

It may seem like the goal of networking is to meet as many people as possible, but it’s not necessary to nurture every connection equally. After a networking event, identify the most relevant people to your job search and craft personalized messages to these individuals instead of sending generic follow-ups.

When networking as part of your job search, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity because building strong relationships is more effective than collecting a large number of superficial connections.

By focusing on quality connections, you can build deeper, more meaningful relationships with people who can offer valuable advice, referrals, and support. These relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, and they are more likely to lead to job opportunities than a large number of superficial connections.

Additionally, focusing on quality connections allows you to invest more time and effort in building and maintaining these relationships. It’s better to have a smaller number of strong relationships that you can nurture and maintain over time than a large number of weak connections that you don’t have time to invest in.

Furthermore, focusing on quality connections can help you build a strong reputation within your industry or field. When you have strong relationships with respected professionals, their endorsement and referrals can carry more weight than a large number of connections who may not be as influential.

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Focus on what you can offer others

Networking is not only about getting help but also about giving it. When networking, take the time to get to know others and where they are in their careers before asking for assistance. Even recommending a book or video can be seen as a way of helping.  When networking as part of your job search, it’s important to focus on what you can offer others because building strong relationships is a two-way street. By offering value to others, you can build trust and establish yourself as a valuable connection.

Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships, where both parties can offer something of value to each other. By focusing on what you can offer others, you can position yourself as a helpful and knowledgeable resource. This can lead to opportunities to collaborate, share insights and advice, and ultimately, build stronger relationships.

Additionally, focusing on what you can offer others can help you build a strong reputation within your industry or field. When you are known for offering value and being helpful, people are more likely to seek out your advice and referrals, which can open doors to new opportunities.

Furthermore, focusing on what you can offer others can help you build a more fulfilling and meaningful network. When you are helping others achieve their goals, you can feel a sense of satisfaction and purpose in your networking efforts.

Think outside the box

Don’t limit your networking opportunities to individuals in similar positions as yours. The people who are looking to hire or know people who are looking to hire may not be VPs themselves. Be open to networking with people from different industries or positions. 

When networking as part of your job search, it’s important to think outside of the box because it can help you discover new opportunities and connections that you may not have considered otherwise. Thinking outside of the box means exploring non-traditional networking methods and being creative in your approach.

Traditional networking methods such as attending industry events and job fairs are important, but they may not be enough to help you stand out in a crowded job market. By thinking outside of the box, you can find new and unique ways to connect with potential employers and industry leaders.

For example, you could try reaching out to professionals on social media, participating in online forums or groups, or attending networking events outside of your industry. These non-traditional methods can help you expand your network and discover new opportunities that you may not have found otherwise.

Additionally, thinking outside of the box can help you differentiate yourself from other job seekers who are using the same traditional methods. By being creative and unique in your approach, you can capture the attention of potential employers and stand out as a memorable and valuable connection.

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Final Thoughts

Networking is a crucial aspect of job searching and building a successful career. When networking, it’s important to focus on building quality relationships, offering value to others, and thinking outside of the box. By investing time and effort in building strong connections, you can gain valuable insights, advice, and opportunities that can help you achieve your goals. By offering value to others, you can build trust and establish yourself as a valuable connection. And by thinking outside of the box, you can discover new opportunities and connections that you may not have considered otherwise. Overall, networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships, where both parties can offer something of value to each other. By being proactive and creative in your networking efforts, you can build a strong network that can help you in your job search and throughout your career.

By avoiding these common networking mistakes, you can increase your chances of finding a job and enjoy a more fulfilling job search experience.

Write a CV that gets you more interviews What is a CV or Resume? A CV (curriculum vitae) and a resume are documents that are used by job seekers to help them get …

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Dave Crumby

I have spent the last 10 years supporting companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to find and the best talent around the world.  

During this time, I have:

✔️ Scanned and reviewed more than 26000 CVs.

✔️ Conducted over 7000 interviews.

✔️ Secured new jobs and promotions in 20 countries across 3 continents.

For the past 4 years I have been developing best practices and solutions to help good people optimise their career branding for great careers. 

Are you interested in working with me?

Email me today.

Best of luck,

Dave Crumby

Your Career Optimiser | Certified Leadership and Management Consultant

Winner of Most Supportive Career Branding Service 2022

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