If you think networking is not your cup of tea, try viewing it from a different perspective. It’s important to build your network as you start your career in order to open up more opportunities in the future.
To help, here are some networking mistakes you may need to avoid:
Networking only when you need a job. It is never too early to start networking, even if you’re still in school. Never wait until you are in crisis mode to start growing your network. Try to stay in touch with your past school mates and colleagues over time to keep your network up to date. You never know what opportunity someone might have down the line.
Networking only during group events. Always keep in mind that networking can occur at any place, any time. Always consider every encounter outside your home a networking experience. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to new people, connect with the people you do know as a starting point.
Avoiding social networking sites. Social media is an especially effective platform for networking with other people from different companies. Take advantage of this tool to grow your network and build your career.
Not following up. Growing your network also means following up with your new contacts. This is a must. People are busy, and it can be easy for them to forget you when dealing with various priorities. Stay in touch with them by sharing information, or offer to be of assistance wherever you can.
Taking without giving. Don’t use networking as a way to use people to your advantage. Networking is about connections. Listen for opportunities to offer help. Effective networking is about meeting people, building relationships, and reciprocating whenever possible.
Missing the hidden message. Make sure you are aware of unspoken cues. If a contact suggests that you check out an article, don’t ignore it. Don’t be afraid to ask why he or she made the recommendation. Keep your ears and mind open as you build your network.