Published On: Fri, Apr 21st, 2017

4 Crucial Networking Mistakes People Make

In the corporate world, it’s who you know and not what you know that determines how fast you progress in your career. For instance, did you know that you need a referral to get an executive position today? Companies are increasingly relying on their employees when it comes to recruiting new members of staff.

For this reason, the best jobs are going to people who have a wide network of people in the right places. Unfortunately, this simple fact is lost on many executives. They fail to develop the right networking skills and pay a heavy price for their negligence. Another person ends up getting the job they were eyeing. If this is you, it is time you knew of the crucial networking mistakes people make.

1. Not Meeting People Face-to-Face

The internet has made it possible to do everything online, even meet people. But to David Strom, a networking guru, nothing beats meeting a contact in the flesh. Ruth Mantell, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, agrees.

She says professionals are relying too much on their online networks at the expense of meeting people in person. Mantell suggests that you visit places where you can network with other professionals at least twice or thrice a month. She further recommends that you take a few business cards along and talk to a stranger or two.

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

2. Not Working on Your Personal Brand

How you present yourself to other professionals is known as personal branding. And, it is the small things that matter. For instance, having a shabby folder can dent your image. Instead, fork out a few pounds to get a professionally printed folder from a folder printing company. That little investment could make a world of difference.

Although branding determines the strength of your network, few professionals are doing it right. This is according to Emdad Khan of 3 Minute Mile. He suggests being more aware of your skills, qualifications, and shortcomings. Once you understand yourself better, he says, only then can you present yourself to others confidently.

3. Not Being Professional

Khan takes personal branding a step further. He says that once you find a way to brand yourself, also work on your online profile for maximum effect. However, many people fail at this point. Granted, social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter makes networking easier. Unfortunately, they also make it easier for you to look unprofessional.

Posting indecent images on social media, or writing posts about how drunk you were over the weekend will compromise your professional image. Strom suggests that you should remove such material from your social media accounts if you want other professionals to take you seriously.

4. Not Following Up on Your Networks

Networking is more than knowing people. It is about building relationships. When you make a contact at a networking event, do more than having a quick introduction over a glass of wine or appetizer. Do not leave the venue without getting people’s business cards or email addresses.

If possible, get their full names as well and connect with then on LinkedIn at a later date. In a similar light, be generous with your business cards and contacts. And when someone reaches out, try to build a relationship with them.

Developing your networking skills is crucial if you want to make it in the business world. But to do this effectively, you must avoid the temptation to only meet people online. Make an effort to also meet them face-to-face and take care of how you present yourself to others.

Not working on your personal brand is sure to dent your professional image, as is being unprofessional when on social media. Finally, never fail to follow up on your networking contacts.

Author: Carol Trehearn

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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