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(You Might As Well Be) Wearing A Fanny Pack To Networking Events

This post is about the networking mistakes people are making during job search.

networking mistakes

If you are looking for a good way to show a little ignorance.  To demonstrate that you are either really new to networking or are absolutely unaware of the right things to do.  The things to bring.  The traits to exemplify. This post is for you.

Why the fanny pack example? Well, it’s just such a great icon from the past. And, yes, I’ve owned one. I’ll admit it.

And I am here to help. First I’ll hit you with the 2 x 4. Then I’ll pick you up and carry you over to a soft and cozy couch. Ready?

So here they are: 5 signs that you might as well be wearing a fanny pack to networking events.

These are the networking mistakes to avoid during job search:

You hand a business card to everyone you meet.  Then ask for one of theirs and move on.

Networking is not about collecting the most business cards.  It is about relationships.  Especially when you have a chance to meet people in person.  To utilize your skills in relational intelligence.  The idea of collecting business cards, stuffing them in your Rolodex or scanning them into your computer and mass e-mailing all your new “contacts”.  It doesn’t work that way.  Expectations have changed.  And so must you.

You show up at a business casual event with a full business suit . . . and act like a business person

It used to be that the best dressed got all the attention.  And while looking nice is important, you can throw people off by over-dressing.  Just the way you can by wearing a “members only” jacket and jeans.  Too casual or too formal makes it harder for people to feel comfortable with you.  If you are too formal, people won’t want to network with you.  They will be nervous about how a coffee meeting will go.

You get your needs covered first. And, if there’s time, you see what others need

There’s a lot of great conversation out there re: pay it forward or selfless networking.  As there should be.  It is critical.  With so many out of work, your ability to be seen as a conscious and helpful networker, can make or break you out there.  In fact, to set the tone, consider trying this: take a productive day off. A day off from focusing on your self.

You bring a 3 page resume with the hopes that you can corner a recruiter or hiring manager

And if you include an old-fashioned objective, you are taking “fanny pack” even further.  Can you say “leather” fanny pack?  Don’t take up space on your resume with a personal objective.  But, in terms of the resume, don’t bring it.  Instead, bring a one page summary and a networking business card.  And make sure each includes your specific job search objectives.  So your new friends have tangible information as to how they can help.

Tell people about how connected you are . . . then don’t share those contacts

It’s great how many people you know.  And how great that you let everyone know about those wonderful connections.  But the second someone asks for a connection, you say: “Sorry, I can’t.  Those are really valuable contacts!”  And so (potentially) was the person who you just pushed away.  We all have contacts we cherish.  And some, perhaps, that we are careful to share.  But don’t try to look like a “big dog” unless you are willing to let someone in.

So, there you have it. Did you raise your hand on one of those networking mistakes? Be honest.

And if you own a fanny pack, please don’t be offended. But it really is a great item for the next charity garage sale.

Anyone else have an example of networking mistakes people make during job search?

Thanks Terry Robinson for the photo via Flickr.


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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