Whether you are on the market for a new job or already employed, being able to network effectively is key to building industry contacts but also building your personal brand, which will help you with your job search. To help you become a better networker here are five networking mistakes you cannot afford to make whilst networking.
1. Not knowing the attendees
Much similar to job interviews, before you attend a networking event make sure you research the attendees. This will enable you to determine who you should be interacting with at the event and but it will also help you prepare relevant questions for them. Start a conversation by using his or her first name, which will show you have done your research. If you attend a networking event without researching the attendees this is unlikely to set a good impression on your part.
2. Come unprepared
Let's face it, anybody who attends networking events does it for a reason and with specific aims in mind. You will need to set your own aims for these events and more importantly prepare a list of questions around those aims, so you can glean useful information to you. Make the most of the opportunity presented by preparing yourself and ensuring the event turns out to be a productive one.
3. Ask for advice, not a job
It is important to remember that attendees are there to share their advice and inside information, which is what you should be aiming for and not asking for a job or an interview. If you ask the right questions, the advice and information you will glean could be quite vital should you decide to apply for a job at one of these organisations in the future.
4. Don't make it all about you
Sure, networking is a great way to get your name out there and showcase your personal brand but if you do not take the time to listen as much as you speak, you are unlikely to set a good impression and build a network of contacts. A one-way conversation all about you should be avoided.
5. Fail to connect on social media
All the hard work you have put in at the networking event could be useless in the end if you fail to follow up with contacts post the event. We would recommend as a first step you connect on social media but be sure you ask the attendees for the best method to keep in touch. Equally, if you follow up by connecting on social media you are much more likely to be remembered, which is particularly important given the number of people attendees will be meeting on that day.
Legal recruiter and blogger