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6 Networking Mistakes You’re Making in Your Job Search

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Written by Seun Oyediran

6 Networking Mistakes You’re Making in Your Job Search

It is no longer news that Networking is king when it comes to getting jobs. And you would know by now that your network is more important than the number of job ads you answer. How you go about Networking can make all the difference in whether you get a job or do not. If you’ve been seeking a job, here are six networking mistakes you’re making in your job search.

  1. Asking Vague Questions

When you ask vague questions, you get vague replies. So, if you ask people if they know anything about something or if there is anything they can help you with, you may be making your very first networking mistake. There are many misconceptions about what Networking is. Many think Networking means getting in touch with business contacts to let them know you’re searching for a job, and if they “know of anything.” The problem is that if you ask for “anything,” you may be asking for nothing! Ask for anything, and you just might get it! 

As many people should have found by now, asking for anything will get you nowhere. When you ask questions, try to be clear about what you want to know. Your network may be too busy to take on extra responsibility, let alone figuring out what you mean. So, never put the responsibility on someone who wants to help you come up with all the answers. In seeking a job or asking for help, you have to be specific and deliberate in your intentions. If you want a job in a startup tech firm in biotechnology, then you have to not only state it but guide your network on how they could be of help to you. When you’re more specific, you’ll get help. 

  1. Joining Networking Groups with Unemployed People in Your Field

OK, so congratulations! You’re on the same networking groups as the unemployed people in your field. Everyone in this group is doing the same thing as you – seeking a job or position. It is expected that they will try to hoard some vital information because they are competing for the same job as you or everyone else. 

It’s human nature to want the best for one’s own self. So, more often than not, people would prefer that they get whatever help they can before they think of or consider helping other people. Therefore, it may be a massive waste of time to be on networking groups with other unemployed people in your field. For your own good, join organizations where you have better opportunities to shine and be distinct. Join Alumni groups, join groups on LinkedIn, join your local chambers of commerce, executive networking groups, NetShare, etc. 

  1. Not Boss Hunting

People often channel their energies down the wrong path or the least productive paths. This could be due to many reasons, one of which is the fact that most people tend to seek the path of least resistance. When you want to network, it is important to target as high as you can. And in this case, it’s the boss or people that matter. This is not to mean you should neglect people that don’t seem to have the connections you need at the moment. However, it does mean that you should focus on those who already have the connection you seek. 

So, my advice for you is that when you’re seeking a job, only target your job search to those that have the influence to hire you. These include the hiring manager or the manager that requested HR to conduct the job search. It’s true that the people you know are better than what you know. So, the higher up they are in the decision-making chain, the better for you and your career.

  1. Not Adding Value

You can’t be in someone’s life and not add any value. For people in this category, your fate will most likely be in the trash. You have no use when you can’t add value to people above or below you. Your network is less likely to add value to you until you add value to it. Only people who add value are at the top of the minds of others. For example, if you fail to add value to your network, they will most likely not think of you when an opportunity comes. So, who will they think of? They will think of the one who adds value to them. If you’re that person, then congratulations! But if you’re not, you have quite a lot to do. 

So, how can you become a person who adds value to their network? You can do that by:

  • Sharing inspirational quotes. This is still very powerful. Let those mind-boggling quotes fly! You can also send a link to a site full of these quotes to the people in your network or even buy them a book!
  • Staying up to date and helping others do the same is an excellent way of adding value. There are so many things that go on each day. Your job will be to find the most exciting or most related news and help others stay abreast of happenings.
  • Appreciate them for what they help you with, no matter how little it may seem. People love to feel appreciated in whatever way you can. Passing sincere remarks of appreciation could change your relationship with others!
  • Share your specific knowledge to show that you are an expert at what you do. Knowledge in and of itself is not power. It is the ability to apply and share the knowledge you have that gives you the power and attention you need. Share your specific knowledge and share it often!
  • If you have something to give, give it when asked! A closed hand can not receive more! Whatever you have – time, connection, money, etc., learn to give to those who are in serious need of these things! 
  1. Failing to Network Because You Have A Good Job

Many people stop networking simply because they have a good job! I mean, what can go wrong, right? Well, a lot of things can go wrong. Stopping to network because you already have a good job is a wrong move. If you do this, it strongly points out that you’re only trying to form a network because of what they can give you and not what you can give them or give others.

Having a good job could be enough reason to network more! Now you have better connections and should form networks with the who is who. Form a strong network with the people at your new job. For example, you can play the “I’m new card” and use the opportunity to ask for suggestions. This way, you make others feel important, and you get added benefits that way!

So, you got a new job? That’s great, but keep Networking!

  1. Non-Personalized LinkedIn Connection Request

There are numerous non-personalized connection requests on LinkedIn today. Out of sheer laziness, people cannot go through the pain of crafting a connection request. Well, that shouldn’t be you any longer. Because too few people do it, you can stand out by starting to do it! Before you send that next connection, take the time to look through the person’s profile and activities and create a personal message on why you’ll like to connect. 

Here is an example of a message template that you can use to connect to a recruiter. 

Dear Rachel Samuel,

I found your profile on the ______ page and yearned to discuss the potential of us working together. I’m a _____ with five years of experience, and I’m currently seeking new opportunities. I’d love to have a chat with you to confirm whether my background might be a perfect fit for any of your openings. Plus, I’ll be delighted to connect you with other professionals in my field.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

David Cameron. 

Conclusion

If you want to make headway in your career, then you must get the art of networking right!

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