6 Ways You’re Being a Self-Centered Networker—and How to Fix It

November 13, 2015

Career Advice

5079551048_0bfb72bf61_zEver feel guilty when you ask a friend of a friend to help you get a foot in the door at a job? Well, just imagine how that person feels getting random emails from employment hungry go-getters who want to suck all their contacts from them for free! Of course, that’s not what you are intending, but it can begin to feel like that after asking one too many “favors.”

There’s definitely an etiquette to networking, and any contact you make while networking should be maintained throughout your career. But that can’t happen if you blow the first meeting. For that relationship to continue and to make sure you don’t get put on their “parasite” list, it’s important that you follow some rules. Here are some ways to tell if you are only thinking of yourself while networking, and some simple tips to fix it:

  1. You texted or called them to set up the initial meeting. NO, no, no! Always e-mail first. This gives the contact a chance to read and respond on their own time.
  2. You asked them to meet for coffee waaaaay across town. Make this meeting as convenient as possible for the person. After all, you are asking to give their own time to you for free. What will be the easiest meeting place for THEM? Offer an array of options and ask them to choose. Also, pay for their coffee or meal!
  3. They agreed to a meeting and you cancelled. Unless your house is on fire, find a way to make that meeting. You should assume you only have one chance to get this right.
  4. You asked the contact for a copy of a presentation you saw them give a week ago.  First of all, if  you saw it, you shouldn’t have to ask for it. Second, their work is copyrighted and unless you are paying for it (like you would a book), it’s not something you can expect.
  5. You played devil’s advocate with them to find out why they did X or Y. Really? This isn’t a journalistic article you’re putting together. Do not question what they are telling you. Take it or leave it, but don’t question it!
  6. You never formally thanked them. Stationery may seem outdated, but in this case a thank you mandatory. Send a thoughtful email or handwritten thank you note and make sure to mention something you talked about as a way to personalize it. This is the beginning of a longer relationship if you handle it well.

For more tips on how to use common sense when networking, check out this New York Times article.

Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr.

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About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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