In a recent Fortune article, “6 Networking Mistakes Job Hunters Make,” Anne Fisher gathered advice from veteran career coach Darrell Gurney on what job seekers are doing wrong when it comes to the ever-important task of networking.
Here are three things Fisher and Gurney say to keep in mind when networking:
1. Never Lead with What You Need
I’ve learned that the number one rule of networking is not to ask for a job but rather to ask for information. Gurney compares networking to dating: “If you seem desperate, people will run the other way.” Take networking as an amazing opportunity to learn more about a position or company. Some people think that asking about someone’s career or company is good for the sole purpose that you’ll be on their radar for openings, but it really is a great way to learn insider details about company culture or a specific position.
Also, keep in mind that professionals will be much more likely to respond to a request for advice or information than if you were to ask directly about a job opening right off the bat.
2. Don’t Overlook People You Come Across Everyday
Job seekers sometimes forget that you can network with just about anyone! I am a campus tour guide and have gotten quite a few business cards from parents on my tours. You never know who might have a connection and be happy to help you out. Gurney mentions that many job seekers overlook family members’ and close friends’ professional networks. Don’t underestimate the power these connections can have—especially if they know you well and can vouch for you on a personal level.
3. Don’t Define Your Talents and Interests Too Narrowly
Sometimes it’s better to be more general in your job search, especially when looking for an entry-level position. You can definitely share what field you are interested in, but you should put all of your skills on display. That way, you can be considered for a variety of positions.
Read the rest of Gurney’s advice and Fisher’s article here.
Any networking tips you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you in the Comments, below!
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About the Author: Dana Schwartz is a senior studying public relations and management at Syracuse University. She has previous internship experience with a small New York City public relations firm, as a communications intern for the Special Olympics in London, and in healthcare marketing. She is looking forward to starting a career in public relations upon her graduation in May. Follow Dana on Twitter!