Do you have trouble asking your contacts for a favor or keeping in touch with your network? These are just two of the common networking mistakes identified in a new survey. One career coach shares advice for combating these mistakes.
Networking can help make or break a career, or at least take it to the next level. But are you networking the right way?
A new survey from staffing services company OfficeTeam reveals some of the worst mistakes people make when trying to tap their networks. According to the surveyed senior managers, the worst misstep is not asking for help when you need it.
“People may not ask those in their networks for help because they’re embarrassed or think they can succeed on their own,” Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said in a statement. “But whether you’re looking to land a new job or build your visibility, every connection counts.”
Other mistakes noted by survey respondents included:
- not keeping in touch with contacts
- not thanking people for their help
- not providing help when others need it
- burning bridges with past employers
“We are socialized, many of us, to not want to ask other people for favors, and that’s why it’s important to have a strategy around networking,” said Carol Vernon, a certified executive coach and principal of Communication Matters. “If you have strategically built a network where you have been generous and authentic, you’ve shared information, you’ve looked for opportunities for other people, it’s not quite as hard to ask for a favor.”
Having a strategy is also important in avoiding other networking blunders, such as failing to keep in touch with your contacts.
“Staying in touch is a challenge for a lot of us,” Vernon said. “We all are different people, and some of us might welcome the opportunity to connect for a coffee or connect after a conference session, but for other people, that may not be the best way of doing it. So when you create a strategy, you need to figure out what’s going to be your best way to stay in contact with people.”
That might be sharing your resources, such as a magazine article you read, and sending it via email, Twitter, or even in the mail. Your strategy may also involve a mix of communication methods—social media, phone calls, in-person communication, whatever works for you and your communication style and schedule, Vernon said.
“We live in a very busy world,” she said. “So the reality is we can’t do all of it, but we can create a strategy around what we can do.”