The world of virtual networking is expanding and getting more important. Learn the top five Virtual Networking Mistakes others often make.
The word “networking” gets thrown around a lot. We all know that it’s something we’re supposed to do, but we don’t all do it.
Because networking can be time-consuming, and it’s not that much fun. But it is a crucial part of career-building, and it’s something we should all be doing regularly.
It’s easy to become complacent in the job that you’re in. Yet when it comes time to advance your career or find a new position, your network can be the make or break that you need to get there.
Ready to learn how to network virtually?
Here are the top five virtual networking mistakes to avoid, like the plague.
Why Virtual Networking Is So Important
Formal networking events can be super dull. But in the age of social media (and with a pandemic looming), networking online is becoming the norm. And that makes it easier than ever to connect, forge relationships, and help us grow our networks and advance in our careers.
Networking isn’t just about meeting new people. That’s a crucial part, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Networking is also a way to learn new ideas, discover new technology, and learn about new practices in your industry. It’s a way to connect with like-minded people, and, ultimately, it can help you take your career to the next level (if your network with the right people).
Want to be a networking boss?
Here’s what NOT to do when making connections online.
Mistake #1: Having an Unprofessional Online Presence
If you want to be successful at virtual networking, you’ll need to have a professional online presence.
Make sure your LinkedIn page is up to date. Attach a professional headshot if you don’t already have one. Clean up your other social media pages in case your connections and contacts view your profiles on Instagram and Facebook.
If and when it comes time to attend a virtual networking event, make sure you have a professional tech setup. That includes having strong wi-fi, a good camera and microphone, and professional background.
Mistake #2: Overselling Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes people make when networking is making themselves sound more important than they are. If you’re in an entry-level position, don’t make it sound like you’re a superstar in your industry.
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not just for the sake of connecting with the people in positions you aspire to be in. Be real, be honest, and be authentic. That’s how you form meaningful relationships that will endure over time.
Along with overselling yourself, it’s essential not to be too needy either. Never come right out and say, “Hey, you don’t know me, but can you get me a job at your company?”
Instead, take a balanced approach, be honest about your career level, and work on building a relationship before you ask for any favors.
Mistake #3: Trying to Network Only With High-Level Professionals
Don’t make the mistake of only reaching out to CEOs, VPs, and high-level management. While it may be tempting to network with the higher-ups, it’s just as important to make connections with people at your level.
Sometimes, networking with your peers is even more effective than networking with people at the top. You probably have more in common with your peers, so that can make it even easier to forge strong relationships (and maybe even build friendships).
Remember, making those long-lasting personal connections is what networking is all about!
Mistake #4: Sending LinkedIn Requests Without a Message
No one likes unsolicited email, so if you’re reaching out to someone you’ve never met before, make sure you have a plan of attack. Do not just send a random connection request unless you include a greeting in the subject line. You should also include a few sentences about who you are and why you’re looking to make the connection at all.
Your message doesn’t need to go on and on for paragraphs. In a few short lines, you should be able to explain why you want to network with this person and what you have to offer in return.
And while it may be easy to click on those LinkedIn suggestions of “people you may know,” doing so doesn’t allow you to include a personal message. Instead, click on that person’s profile individually. That way, you can include a custom message and properly introduce yourself.
Mistake #5: Neglecting Old Connections
Are you disappointed that your current network isn’t helping you get any interviews or land a new job?
It can be tempting to ditch your old connections for new ones, but that’s never a good idea.
It takes time to build strong relationships, so don’t dismiss the hard work you’ve put into building your existing network. Instead, make it a priority to reach out to your old connections to strengthen the relationships you already have.
While it may seem like new connections are more promising than some of your old ones, that’s probably not the case. And that’s especially true if your connections are former colleagues you’ve worked with before and know in person.
The bottom line is this:
Don’t ditch your old friends because you’ve made a few new ones. Give them each an equal amount of time.
Networking virtually has its pros and cons. On the upside, you can network without having to leave the house or buy a new outfit to impress your potential new colleagues and mentors.
It can be harder to form real connections with people that you can’t see face to face and greet with an actual handshake on the downside.
If you’re ready to build your network virtually, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Create a professional online presence
- Be honest and authentic about who you are and your level of experience
- Connect with your peers, not just with people in high-level positions
- Always include a message with a LinkedIn connection request
- Keep up with old connections, even if you’ve made a few new ones
With these tips in mind, you’ll be networking like a pro in no time! And, as the goal of networking always is, those connections might help you take your career to the next level. Hope you love reading “Virtual Networking Mistakes”
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the conventional housing industry and works with Alexan on 20th Street Station daily to help them with their marketing efforts.
Please share “Virtual Networking Mistakes You Do NOT Want to Make – Amir Articles” with friends and family.