Networking Myths: Busted
Don’t let these mindsets hold back your career.
So often I hear from people who dread the prospect of networking.
Some people don’t know where to begin. Others are naturally shy, and unsure about how to approach strangers. These are such understandable fears, and we’re working every day to help people move past them.
But sometimes it’s misconceptions about networking that hold folks back. If that’s your reason for keeping to yourself, read on for a fresh perspective. Here are the the most common misconceptions I hear about networking, and how you can get past them.
Networking is fake
If we’re honest, there’s a reason why networking has a bad reputation. If you’ve ever been at a mixer chatting with somebody who’s scanning the room, it’s no wonder you’ve felt networking can be transactional.
But here’s the thing — networking is only fake if you you treat it that way.
If you bring a genuine desire to help and to learn to your networking interactions, you’ll be more successful. People can smell insincerity a mile away. Great connections are going to be hungry to chat with genuine people (like you).
I’ve said it before; the best networking isn’t exchanging business cards, it’s just people helping each other out. There’s nothing fake about that.
Clicking “Connect” = networking
We’ve probably all been guilty of this one — heading onto LinkedIn, clicking “Connect”, and calling it a day. (Then wondering why the job offers don’t come rolling in.)
The fact is, social media is only a tool. It’s a wonderful way to gather information and communicate, but it simply won’t do the hard work for you. Relationship building takes more than a quick, thoughtless connection.
When a website doesn’t immediately deliver the rewards of rich professional relationships, don’t despair. Investing 15 minutes a day in learning about others and sending thoughtful messages can put you on the road to networking success.
Put a small amount of work in, and you’ll be amazed at what opportunities may come your way.
Nobody will want to help me early in my career
I hear this one a lot. Early grads who feel they have nothing to offer, or who don’t know what they want to do with their careers are often the most reluctant to ask for help.
Here’s the truth: people like to help other people. It’s perfectly disarming to say to someone,: “Hey. I just graduated, I’m not sure where I’m going at all. I would love to hear about your experience, and how you got to where you are.”
You don’t have to have a plan. You don’t need to be able to offer anything amazing in return for a 15 minute chat. Just your genuine thanks will do.
Many people enjoy sharing wisdom with younger folks. So don’t think about it as a bother—as long as you’re polite, it won’t be.
Hearing about how others have navigated life’s twists and turns can be so valuable. Don’t let a misconception about networking stand between you and important conversations.