Back to Latest Posts

Best Networking Practices

There have been a few articles lately that have addressed poor networking practices (and by virtue of their information - better ideas for networking). Earlier this month, LinkedIn shared an article, Conversation Killers: How to Ruin a Networking Opportunity (by Andy Robinson). The Wall Street Journal ran an article in the middle of last year titled, Networking Mistakes We Often Make (by Ruth Mantell). Common mistakes highlighted included:
  • Fast starts and stops - only networking when you need a job.
  • Overusing the same contacts - and freely passing their names along.
  • Not investing in relationships.

There are some very common (and easy) networking best practices.

Thankfully, there are more articles (and books) on great networking techniques. Like so many things, they are easy to follow - but do require some discipline.  Here are a few to take us into Spring and what appears to be a positive-trending job market:
  • Act like a host, not a guest. At a networking event (professional or industry association meeting), introduce yourself to people that you don't know. (An easy tactic is to find other people that don't appear to know anyone either - and start with them).
  • Give and get. Networking means an exchange of information. If you are going to network, make sure you accept networking invitations from others.
  • Follow-up (and make this a top priority). E-mail makes immediacy of response even more important. Get a follow-up note to people within 24 hours of meeting them. If they asked for your resume, send it. (I have countless examples of people that I wanted resumes from - and they never sent it.)

The most important rule (in my opinion) is:

  • Make friends even when you don't need them. People seem to invest in their network only when (1) in transition or (2) when they decide they need to look for a new position (while currently employed). Contacts see through this. Make sure you network all the time - keeping in touch is energizing. We do most of our work through people; make your best contacts those people you connect with.

Live versus LinkedIn (or Facebook)

One final thought - networking is about relationships and connecting. While we all stay in touch on-line, those transactions are just that - fast (and often one-line) comments. Make time for occasional face-to-face meetings. More can be accomplished in a 30-minute coffee meeting that by hitting 'Like' on a LinkedIn posting.