But, how do you know if you are doing it correctly? And, how do you know if your networking tactics are doing you more harm than good?
There are a number of ways to ensure that you’re being tactful, considerate, and appreciative when dealing with professional contacts. Start by avoiding these common networking mistakes:
Only communicating when you need something
If you only make contact when you need something, the less willing your contact will be to offer their support. To establish and maintain strong relationships over time, make the effort to communicate with your network on a regular basis. Celebrating milestones, forwarding interesting articles, and engaging on social media are just a few easy ways to do this.
Those in your network are certainly there to help you throughout your career, but don’t make the mistake of overwhelming them with your requests. Asking for repeated favors or sending too many emails can be off-putting, especially for busy professionals. Be respectful of your connections’ time by keeping your messages to-the-point and only following up when appropriate.
Neglecting face-to-face contact
While there are many benefits to utilizing the internet as a tool to expand your network, solely relying on social media is one of the most common networking mistakes. Although every professional should be using online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with others in their field, in-person networking is also necessary for career advancement. Factors such as confidence, communication skills, and other positive personality traits can get lost in translation while networking online, so try to attend conferences and meet-ups to forge in-person connections.
Not saying thank you
Sending a brief thank you message to someone who has helped you is crucial to maintaining a positive, long-lasting relationship. Even if they did something small such as referring you to someone who is better suited to help, let your connection know that you appreciate their time and that you will gladly reciprocate in the future.