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Doe’s & Don’ts for 4/10/09: 7 Deadly Sins of Networking

April 10, 2009

NetworkingIn the last few months of college, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “network, network, network” come from professors and administation. Here are 7 deadly mistakes of networking and ways to avoid them.  These come from Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy.

1.  Asking for an introduction when you are too busy to properly follow up.

Solution: Next time you learn that one of your contacts knows someone you want to know, file that information away and tell your friend you might ask for an intro when you’re less busy.

2.  Sending a too-long email that asks no question.

Solution: When asking someone for advice, for an informational interview or for any other help by email, write a succinct note and be clear about what you are asking for.

3.  Making introductions on behalf of people you can’t vouch for.

Solution: Next time a friend asks you to make an introduction on behalf of someone you don’t know, instead of blindly recommending the person, ask your friend if he or she can provide a rave review. If the answer is yes, then you can tell your contact that while you don’t have firsthand knowledge, someone you respect has given the person a strong review. If the answer is no, then your friend will certainly understand if you decline to make the introduction.

4.  Making incorrect assumptions.

Solution: Next time you have a brilliant idea for someone else’s business, job search, or networking, ask first before you take any steps to help.

5.  Using a social network without knowing how it works.

Solution: When you join a new social network, read up or watch an online tutorial on how it works and be an observer for a little while before diving in. If you make a misstep even when you know the rules, find an appropriate way to acknowledge your error.

6.  Failing to properly follow up.

Solution: Send an Amazon gift card – it’s something practically anyone would appreciate and you can order it and have it delivered by email with a few clicks of the mouse. If you’re strapped for cash, consider recommending the person on LinkedIn (assuming you’re both on LinkedIn, and who isn’t these days?)

7.  Sending unwieldy attachments or too many samples of your work.

Solution: If you’re asking someone for advice and including samples of your work, make it as easy as possible for the person to review those samples. Rather than including attachments, which can be burdensome to open, try to include links to URLs. If you have a portfolio, set up a simple website to showcase your work.

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