3 ways you may be networking wrong
Networking is valuable in any industry, but the term has become closely tied to professional employment. Professionals are expected to network their way into jobs and careers, but doing it well can be tricky business. Critical factors in hiring employees are often ignored due to an overly-stressed search for anything that looks good.
First, the candidate may not have the experience one would ideally prefer. This is often an issue with young graduates fresh out of school–they just don’t have the skills and experience yet. It’s easy to overlook them in favor of a more experienced candidate with similar qualifications.
Second, they may not match culture and personality factors with your organisation’s profile. While this is true both for new graduates as well as those already working somewhere else, it can be even more obvious when you guide people towards the exit door. Many companies find out too late what damages their reputation and cause people to leave. Sometimes this is just one difficult employee who others in the organisation don’t appreciate, but it can also be management practices.
Finally, they may not fit either culture or personality factors, but still, have relevant experience and qualifications that would otherwise make them ideal candidates. That’s when a lack of formal education or relevant work experience creates a barrier to being properly considered for a job.
In many cases, people don’t have the luxury of taking their time exploring possible options and waiting for opportunities that match what they want. In employment, you often take what you can get rather than wait for something better. Networking is a great way to gather information about possibilities that fit one’s profile.
It is often said that the more referrals you provide to a potential employer, the greater your chances of being considered and hired. That’s why it’s so important for networking opportunities to be as productive as possible. Here are 3 ways you may be networking wrong:
1. Not doing enough research about their options.
You may hear it said that half of the networking is research. You can network right into a job by knowing who you are talking to, what they do, and if they are recruiting. This means you should know your audience when starting your search for an open position. It also means checking job boards regularly for new listings, knowing the names of the companies you want to work for, and being able to convey what exactly it is that you can bring to a company.
Employers know that networking is critical to getting the best employees, but many times they can tell when somebody has not taken the time to do their research. They may also be turned off by applicants who seem desperate for work rather than enthusiastic about what they will bring to a company. A strong network with key contacts provides opportunities without risking your reputation.
2. Getting high-mentions but not getting hired.
It is important not only to network with people who have mentioned job openings or hiring needs but also to get an indication from them on whether they are hiring. Reach out to people you have spoken with before, get updates on what is going on in their company, and then ask about openings or needs they may have. If somebody mentions that companies are expanding but are not currently looking for anybody new, ask if they can put you forward for future opportunities.
3. Trying to be everywhere at once.
Sending out hundreds of resumes to different companies is considered poor etiquette in any industry. You are better off focusing your networking efforts on a few key contacts who will be able to let you know about opportunities as they arise. If you are having trouble getting responses from people, let them know what you are looking for and ask if they can put in a good word for you or put you forward if they hear of something that fits with your skill set.
While it is critical to network the right way when looking for employment, doing so is not without its risks. Before deciding on which networking strategy to follow, it is important to weigh up the benefits against any potential hazards.