Networking does not simply mean clicking on the “Connect” button on LinkedIn and trying to reach the highest number of connections possible: it means creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Many candidates credit their success to the strong network they have built over time. Here are the top do’s and don'ts of networking.
If you decide to suddenly message someone and expect them to instantly help you out, it may not be as quick as you think. Remember that maintaining connections is a two-way street: to cultivate a relationship, try to offer help or favours. Also, follow up with your connections: a one-time message or meeting does not constitute a relationship!
Make a plan
You don’t need to know exactly what you want all the time or what you expect from every networking opportunity. However, make sure you attend events and meet people with a specific goal in mind and see how you can accomplish your goals through these events and new people.
Networking is a daunting task, as it can be time consuming, awkward, and at times downright draining. However, you can’t deny that a strong professional network can be quite powerful in terms of launching your success. Patience is a virtue, so don’t expect to reap all the benefits immediately.
Hesitate to ask questions
Many professionals truly enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise, and there is no harm in asking questions. Learning from others’ experience will benefit you in the long run.
If you only talk to people you already know, you will never expand your horizons and find out about new opportunities. Networking isn’t just for extroverts: it’s for everyone!
Don’t just dive in with your elevator pitch and make networking a “me me me” moment. Be genuinely interested in whomever you speak with and focus on building valuable relationships.
You don’t have to join every single professional network and attend every networking event. New networking opportunities show up all the time, and sometimes, they can even pop up by surprise.
Meaningful relationships built over time will prove valuable when you find yourself in need of referrals, insights into new job opportunities, and other valuable information. With these do’s and don’ts in mind, you are now ready to start networking!