Whether you want to find a new job, advance in your career or pitch your business, networking is the way to go. If you want networking to yield positive results, you ought to use the right tactics.

When you are at a networking event, remember that it is not all about sipping your wine as you chitchat about your career or handing over your business card to the people you meet. Networking is all about connecting with individuals in a memorable way. While at it, ensure you avoid these common networking mistakes.

Failing to dress appropriately

When going for a networking event, Skype interview or a meeting with your contact for coffee, remember to dress professionally. Bear in mind that you are trying to grow career-wise and not to have fun with your friends. Many people have lost job opportunities only because they did not make an appropriate first impression.

Don’t make it obvious that you want a job

Today, finding a job is more of who you know than what you know. However, do not make this fact so obvious. People will not extend assistance to you if they feel that you are only making friends with them so that they can help you climb a step higher in your career. So, you are probably wondering how to get a job if you are not open about it. First you’ll need to find out how you can utilize your skills to help them.

Do not dismiss people who do not look relevant

You need to act like everybody there has the potential. Although you might put effort into dressing professionally, for example, other people may not. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth your time. Treat everybody with kindness; they might be your key to the door of career success.

Do not just wander around collecting business cards

An event is different from LinkedIn, in that the quality of connections is more important  quantity. It doesn’t much matter if you have someone’s contact information if you don’t have anything meaningful to contact them about. Therefore, take the time to get to know a few people, and give yourself a reason to reconnect with them later. For example, you may talk to them about a relevant project that you’ve worked on in a previous job, and then that gives you an excuse to email them more about that project.

Avoid barging into discussions

If you find two people conversing at a networking event, it would be rude if you interrupted them. However, for a group of more than two people, you may ask to join them in a polite manner. When they allow you to join, do not start talking right away. Take time to read the mood then talk only after you have understood your audience. For instance, you can wait until something is mentioned which you do not understand, then ask for clarification. At this point, someone might ask who you are, thus giving you a chance to introduce yourself.

Do not be in the dark

Avoid showing people that you are not on par with the current news or trends. Before you attend an event, get acquainted with what is happening in your industry and the world as a whole. Consider this your homework for creating a more engaging personality, because this is a crucial factor in building your relevancy.

Remember your business cards

It is the minor impressions you make that portray your effective leadership skills. If you do not have a business card, you’re not going to make a great impression writing down your contact information on a scrap of paper. You want to leave an impression. Thus you should be ready to spend a little money on high-quality business cards.

Failing to follow up

To start with, send your contacts a note thanking them for your time. This way, they will be left with a positive memory of their relations with you. Also, remember to accomplish what you promised, such as sending an article link. A recently published article indicates that asking for your needs right away might jeopardize your newly established relationship.


By:  Kevin Faber