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13 Networking Mistakes

Dan Woog and Zac Frank

2. Being Clueless

If you’re heading to a networking event, make sure you know why you’re going. Do you want a job? If so, make sure you can articulate clearly what type of position you want.

Are you looking for contacts or a mentor to provide guidance? As soon as someone starts talking with you, you have to hold up your end of the conversation. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t do that.

How to do that is more art than science. On the one hand, you do not want to be too specific. Listing a job title makes it too easy for a contact to say, “No. I do not know of anyone hiring for that exact position.” At the other end, being too vague says that you have no idea what you want to do professional and gives the impression that you would not be the most committed employee. Think of what elements of past jobs you liked, what contributions you made, what skills you have, then tie them together in a tight package. Not only will this present you in a positive light, it will make a contact start thinking and make a simple no or yes response almost impossible.

3. Being Unprepared