20 Costly Job Search Networking Mistakes to Avoid

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Networking is a crucial part of any effective job search. But many people unknowingly make mistakes that damage their networking efforts.

Stupid Networking Mistakes: No Patience

Networking is a crucial part of any effective job search. But many people unknowingly make mistakes that damage their networking efforts. The last thing you want to do is to make a poor impression or burn bridges through careless networking behaviors.

I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. People hire me for no BS job search advice and coaching globally, because I made the process of job hunting so much easier. . . And a lot of other things as well.

So I’ve identified 20 things I’m going to cover today that I want to make sure you avoid doing because, otherwise, what you’ll do is waste your time.

Now, the first one is turning down an invitation to meet someone. Why would you do that? They could maybe someone who you could help and can help you  and they’d like an opportunity to get acquainted with you to meet them. Number two– asking too much of someone’s time, a 30 minute Zoom meeting or a short walk and talk near their office is perfect. And by the way, when you get to the end of the 30 minutes, look at your watch and say something affect of, “I asked for 30 minutes, and I don’t want to go over that amount of time.” Often they’ll say “I can give you a few minutes more,” and what you’re doing is respecting their time. Number three, don’t lead with asking for a favor or making too big a request of someone. For example, if you want outright mentorship, or something tangible, like a resume review, have a conversation with them for a while before you’re starting to ask them for as big a favor as this winds up being. Each of those is going to take a lot of time. Respect their time. So that’s number three.

Number four, don’t worry if every interaction doesn’t work out, because when you’re meeting a lot of people, they aren’t all gonna work out. They’ve got a life, they’ve got a schedule personal and professional. They may not have the ability to help you. They may not know the people you want to connect with. But be patient with yourself. Number five, don’t exclusively concentrate on making new connections. Building up existing ones can be far more effective. People who you know, like, trust and respect, and who know, like, trust, and respect you are often the best way is to land your new role.

Next, number six–keeping score. I’ve done all these things for you, but you do nothing for me. Keeping score just gets you angry. It doesn’t help. Continue to help people and eventually they come around. Number seven, letting fear get in your way of networking. You know, if you’re at an in person event, hugging the wall is not going to help you meet people that could help you. If you’re afraid to email someone, or text someone, not doing that is selection, that you’re not worth their time. Don’t do that. Just reach out and trust that if they’re not interested, they won’t respond.

Capitalize on Your Network

This is a huge one. Number eight, not staying in contact with people. You think a one time event is enough. And then you never follow up. Stay in contact with the people that you make an initial connection with. And with the people that you revisit with, with people from your past who you haven’t been contact with for a while. The simplest way is to message and say. It feels like 100 years since we were last in contact.” And then the body might say “You know, their name popped into my mind and I thought I would just reach out to see how you were. Do you have a few minutes to talk?” And that becomes a simple way to reconnect.

Number nine, acting like one of those people, you know, me, me, me, me, me. It’s all about me. Do things for me. I won’t help you. Why would I help you? You should be doing things for me. You get the point.

Number 10 name dropping excessively. People may not be impressed by who you know. It can come across as being arrogant, snotty, and those are the good ones.

  1. Aggressively collecting business cards. Now, this is something for in-person meetings, which clearly are happening again. Just wandering around trying to collect cards. Spend the time talking to people instead. Don’t just be compulsive collecting the card without connecting with someone as a person. Next one number 12–bad mouthing former employers. Bad mouthing anyone! Don’t do that. You know, people get turned off by it. They just think that the next person you’re going to talk to, you’re going to be critical of them.

Number 13. Talking too quietly or loudly. Now I tend to be a quiet talker. So I have to notice if I’m doing that to speak up. For loud talkers, you start noticing them backing away a little bit. And if you’re on camera, whoo, it’s brutal. 14. Oversharing. Sharing too much personal information really isn’t appropriate. Keep it professional and drop in an occasional story in there, rather than focusing on all the horrible things that people have done to you, or a story about your wife, husband or partner–That’s embarrassing. Don’t go down that road. Don’t overshare 15–Forgetting to silence your phone. If you’re in a situation where you’re on camera, or in person, phone ringing does not serve you. Put it on vibrate so you notice it and when you’re done with the conversation, then you can take a quick look at your phone. But don’t just simply have your phone on to have it ring and interrupt.

It’s Easier to Network Than You Think!

Number 16. And this is a painful one. I’ve been in the situation where someone with bad breath, bad hygiene, who’s poorly dressed corners me. And it’s awful. It’s a terrible experience. Remember, every time you’re networking, look like an all star. Don’t show up looking or smelling badly. I know that should be obvious, but it isn’t for some people.

Number 17. Pitching with a hard sell. You don’t want to come across as a life insurance agent. And that’s a stereotype folks. Not all life insurance agents do hard sell pitching. Not all stockbrokers do that. Not all recruiters do that. But you know what I’m talking about. A hard sell pitch is obnoxious. Avoid over promoting yourself without regard to the other person.

,18. Contradicting or arguing. You don’t have to always agree but avoid being combative. Just simply say, “Oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. I should consider this as an option. You may learn something from them. Next, number 19. Acting like networking is a numbers game. And the corollary is having no patience to do the important thing, which is treat networking like it’s a relationship game. Your goal is to develop relationships with people where you just get to know, like, trust, and respect the other one, and you’re willing to help graciously, not because it feels like an obligation. And number 20, and this is purely for in- person meetings, being rude, or just ignoring event staff. If you’re meeting in- person. Be gracious to everyone, not just simply “the important people,” whatever that means.

So I hope you found this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. My website is TheBigGameHunter.us Go to the blog and go exploring. There’s a lot there, that’ll help you. In addition, you can schedule time for a free discovery call, schedule time for coaching, ask me questions through Trusted Advisor Services, where I take 30 minutes, you book time with me and we go through an issue or issues that you have, and I help you solve them.

Also with the site, the blog is terrific. And you could schedule time– let me backup. You can find out about my video courses, books and guides. The website is terrific. It’s helped so many people. Lastly, connect with me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/TheBigGameHunter. My network tends to be a lot larger than most of yours. So reaching out and connecting with me or just following me on LinkedIn will help you reach a lot more people. Have a terrific day and be great!

7 Steps to Better Networking


People hire Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter to provide No BS Career Advice globally because he makes many things in peoples’ careers easier. Those things can involve job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading better, career transition, as well as advice about resolving workplace issues. 

Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2600 episodes.

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