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Three networking mistakes to avoid

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Have you been trying to network to get a job for a while but have not seen the results you expected? Perhaps you have started doubting yourself and whether you are approaching job networking (this is the phrase I use to describe networking with an end goal of securing a job/internship) in the right way.

We have worked and helped many people secure interviews, jobs and internships through a targeted and concentrated networking effort. We have collected some case studies of successes and challenges faced by candidates during the job networking process. The result is this article outlining three networking mistakes that can inhibit and slow down your job search process.

  1. Getting a job is largely a game of numbers – so if you get to know one person from a department in your target company, this may not be enough. In fact, I would suggest aiming to get to know 6 or 7 people at a minimum in your target company (and ideally across a number of departments). The more people you know the better your chances are of securing interviews with that company. And by getting to know someone I mean more than having had a brief email exchange – ideally you should establish at least 3-4 ‘touch points’. So please avoid mistake number 1 – not throwing your net wide enough within the target company.
  2. A number of our clients have made useful connections within companies, had a meeting/call with their contacts but then never got in touch again after being informed that there was no suitable opportunity at the time. This is mistake number 2. Make people like you – don’t merely use them to get an interview, build lasting relationships. And the time will come when they may call you saying there is a new interesting role you might be suited to. Send them updates, your thoughts on the latest developments in the industry, actively engage with them on social media with the aim of establishing rapport.
  3. And finally, impress your contacts with your knowledge of their industry and company. Too many people show up to informational interviews and networking appointments not being up to speed on the latest developments in their field of interest, the deals their target company has made, the clients it has won. They wrongly believe that these meetings will concentrate purely on discussion of available positions – and this is a complete fallacy. You need to impress your contact and the best way to do it is through demonstrating your knowledge and understanding of the industry and the key players (and the contact’s personal history if possible!)

I would love to hear your stories of successful and not so successful job networking endevours so please feel free to post in the comments box below.

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