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Networking Problems You Should Make Sure to Avoid

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Today's job search market requires prospective job hunters to be in contact with former coworkers, as well as family and friends, as a way to keep abreast of potential changes or opportunities they may find useful. However, in networking, there are some issues, all too common, that can trip up applicants and make their efforts less effective than they might hope. Knowing what they are can help you ensure that your search stays at peak levels of quality.

Not using LinkedIn properly

Connecting with someone on LinkedIn is a good start, but that's only half the battle, CIO reported. There's no use in connecting with friends or family if you allow your connections to lie untouched for periods of time. You'll see much better results if you keep engaging different people over time, as you'll get more of an opportunity to get new information and also have stronger relationships with your friends and colleagues. Your profile should help serve this purpose, showing a lot of information that can show off skills and beliefs you have both personally and professionally. Even if you're not looking for a job, you should still make an effort to engage the people you connect with often. Eventually, if you need help, your friends will be willing to put in the time to assist you.

Narcissism in conversations

The primary reason why you'll want to make a regular habit of connecting with other people is because networking is a two-way street. It's not just about what others can do for you, it's how both parties can have a mutually beneficial relationship over time. If others come to you asking for help or assistance, and you refuse or shy away from the responsibility, that won't just reflect on them, but it'll reflect on others in your network whom both of you know. It's a natural feeling to drive the conversation to a topic about yourself - especially when you're in the middle of a long and arduous job search - but make sure that both parties have something to gain. Otherwise, people will consider you to be using them toward a greater purpose, which can negatively affect your overall search efforts.

Connecting with many people, not close ones

The LinkedIn problem can be very similar to the Facebook problem for some people. Because the website is a barometer of a certain aspect of life, there's a sense that you need to make as many connections as possible - on Facebook, having more friends has the implication that you have a huge social network, while on LinkedIn, more connections presumably means more success in networking. That's not necessarily the case. If you're sending out connections to people you have experience working with in the past, that's great. There comes a time where connecting with a contract worker you met twice and never actually met with, or a boss you had during a summer job a decade ago, can actually hurt your networking abilities. Instead, if you focus your connections more toward people who are directly relevant to your career, you don't have to worry so much about having as many connections as possible. Quality, not quantity, is the name of the game.

Not preparing for meetings

If you're meeting someone in real life, you may be tempted to take things lightly, the Huffington Post noted. That should never be the case. You'll want to be on your best behavior, both in your dress and the conversation itself. You're trying to make a connection, and dressing in anything less than business-appropriate clothing is a likely no-go. You'll also want to rehearse a few questions, so you won't be caught off guard if the conversation veers away from discussion for a few minutes and you're distracted from previous topics.