15 Bad Networking Habits That Will Kill Your Job Prospects
For those facing the competitive arena of the job market you likely know that networking with other people in your peer group and beyond could be the ideal way to get your foot in the next door with a job opening. Networking has helped many land great jobs. (See also: 15 Simple Networking Tricks)
However helpful networking can be to your job-finding success, it can also kill any prospects you have on a potential job, especially if you are doing it wrong. Here are 15 job prospect-killing moves you may be guilty of in your search for a new job.
1. Networking With Your Current Boss's Allies
Many people make the mistake of not researching with whom they are speaking. If you talk down your current boss to an acquaintance of his or hers, you likely not only kill any chance of getting a new job, you may be putting your current job at risk.
2. Projecting Poor Body Language
When meeting a potential job contact in person, it is important that you maintain a professional presence no matter the location in which you are meeting. Make sure to make eye contact, offer a firm handshake, and watch your non-verbal actions. If you have a tendency to smirk or roll your eyes, your contact may dismiss you before even finding out about your experience. (See also: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language)
3. Using Terrible Grammar
If you are meeting a networking contact via email, you better make sure your writing skills are up to snuff. Use complete sentences, and don't speak in Internet slang better reserved for texting your friends. Keep profane words out of the conversation and double-check for typos prior to hitting send. If meeting in person, enunciate your words and speak concisely and clearly without slang words.
4. Being a Wallflower
If you are in an environment that is all about networking and making connections but choose to cling to the edge of the room instead of mingling, you likely are ruining a possible good first impression. It may be better to skip these events altogether than give off a bad vibe.
5. Having Poor Manners
Whether online or off, manners are still required. A simple "please" and a "thank you" will get you far. Never interrupt conversations already in progress just to get in a handshake. Lack of manners or basic courtesies are a turn off to many people looking to recruit new talent. Those who consider you to be rude are likely not going to refer you to their own contacts. (See also: Etiquette Rules You Should Follow)
6. Missing Contact Info
If you are providing others with your business card or other contact information, make sure the details are correct. Someone may be more than interested in giving you a shot at a job but will easily become frustrated when they can't get in touch with you because your phone number has been disconnected or your email account is no longer active.
7. Delaying a Response
If you tend to procrastinate on new interview requests or other job inquiries, you may be showing your true colors to a potential employer. If you have successfully networked with other contacts who in turn contact you for a job, make sure to follow up on emails or phone calls. If you fail to get back in touch within 24 hours, you may be perceived as unreliable.
8. Network Spamming
If you have been lucky enough to get the contact information of people with an "in," use it wisely. Make the initial contact and wait for a reply. If no reply comes within a week's time do one follow up contact. Avoid becoming a harassing presence in the other person's life with repeated phone calls, emails, or contacts on social media.
9. Missing Appointments
If you have the opportunity to meet with a networking connection, be sure to show up and show up on time. If someone takes the time to hear you out about job opportunities, have the decency to be respectful of their time. Otherwise you will be viewed as irresponsible and not reliable. (See also: How to Always Be on Time)
10. Telling Lies
While it can be difficult to toot one's own horn to another person in a position of power, some people find it all too easy to hype up their experience by just plain lying. Be truthful about your skills and experience even if you aren't speaking to a hiring authority. No one will want to recommend a known liar to their employer or other acquaintance. (See also: How to Tell If Someone Is Lying)
11. Making Inappropriate Confessions
In the process of making small talk with a networking connection, make sure you are aware of what you are saying and how it can impact your job prospects. For instance, if you freely admit to having a house full of stolen office supplies, your connection may find a reason to step away from you quickly.
While communicating with your potential networking contact, always keep things positive. If you are perceived as a negative person because you constantly complain and rarely seem satisfied with anything, you may be the last person an employer wants in the office. Save your rants for your close friends that are totally unrelated to your job.
13. Burning Your Bridges
If you have had a successful interaction with a networking connection only to discover things didn't work out in your favor, don't burn the bridges you have established out of spite. While this particular job may not be a win for you, the networking contact may be instrumental in the near-future. Don't bad-mouth your allies or be rude because things didn't work in your favor.
14. Offering Too Much Information
There are people that have a bad habit of talking entirely too much for their own good when nervous. When networking with a potential employer practice a few breathing exercises and watch what you say. Telling your potential boss too much information about your personal life can put you at a serious disadvantage.
15. Not Cooling Your Emotions
If you have been without a job for some time or just plain dislike the job you currently have, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and generally emotional about a new job prospect. If you lose control of your emotions during your networking contact, you may be seen as unstable. Don't cry, yell, or in any other way have a meltdown in front of someone who may be interested in hiring you.
Anything I've missed? What networking mistakes have you made or have you seen others make?