Networking Etiquette

Networking Etiquette

Networking Etiquette

There are a number of tasks that you should be completing to help with your international job search, and if they are not being done correctly, they could damage your chances and taint your application. In this article we will look at 5 professional networking etiquette rules that you should abide by.

1. Don’t Just Use LinkedIn as a digital CV

LinkedIn is a very complex yet important job hunting and networking tool that every professional should be using regularly. One of the main features of the platform is the public profile which works like an online digital CV. Whilst you shouldn’t just look at LinkedIn as a digital CV and nothing else – which would mean you would be ignoring the range of other highly useful and powerful tools built into the platform – you must first ensure that you have optimised your public profile. You can do this by taking your most important experiences, skills and qualifications from your CV and placing them on your profile, highlighting yourself as an experienced professional worthy of the job that you’re applying for.

It is important to follow LinkedIn’s instructions and recommendations when updating your public profile, following the steps to optimise your profile, but really focus on your most recent and most important experiences – rather than adding every experience and job you’ve had. By only focusing on the important parts of your career, your digital CV will not only look and read very well, but it will allow recruiters and potential employers to get a good understanding of you within a brief overview.

To utilise LinkedIn more than just as a digital CV, a great feature to start with is the status update feature. This allows you to post updates to your connections via a constant ‘update feed’. You can post text, URL links, pictures, files and you can utilise hashtags, which will allow you to categorise your updates and potentially reach a larger audience, outside your network. You should utilise this great feature by posting 2 – 3 professional updates throughout the week, sharing your thoughts on hot topics and backing up the discussion with a link. By doing this you will be engaging like-minded professionals in a discussion and displaying your knowledge in these particular areas.

LinkedIn also has a great group feature, which is explained below in point 3.

Final thought: Will recruiters and headhunters gain a good understanding of your best achievements from a brief overview of your LinkedIn profile? Are you utilising LinkedIn for more reasons than just having an online CV? Appear on your connections’  update feed by posting useful and informative status updates.

2. Don’t arrive at a networking meeting unprepared

‘Practice makes perfect’, and so does planning. The more preparation and planning that you make before any networking meeting or event that you attend the better your results will be. Whether you’re looking to meet like minded professionals, engage with recruiters and employers, or gain a better understanding of what you want to do next in your career journey (helping with your career choices), the more prepared you are for a meeting the more information you will gain and connections you will make.

Think about what you want to achieve and set some goals. Maybe you want to meet 10 recruiters and arrange a casual meeting with each of them? Or maybe you want to start to build your network of professionals within your industry. By setting some goals you will be able to attend the meeting with a clear understanding of what you have to do. Planning and preparation will help you to understand what you need to actually do to achieve these goals. Do you have a sales pitch for yourself? Have you got all of your business cards printed – do they have your LinkedIn URL printed on them? If not then you should consider getting this arranged.

There’s no harm in thinking on the spot, in fact preparing a speech to rehearse to everyone you meet probably isn’t the best idea, but having an understanding of what you want to achieve and how you could go about this will help you to perform at your best with a clear head on the day.

Final thought: Have you identified exactly what you want to achieve at your next networking meeting or event?

3. Ensure you’re using LinkedIn Groups Correctly

LinkedIn groups are a fantastic feature of this professional networking platform and not utilising them could be costing you a job and important connections.

There are groups for everything and the chances are that if you’re looking for a group of individuals within a specific industry in a particular location there is a group, or multiple groups for that! These groups will provide you with access to the people and information that can help you to achieve your goals. Whether you’re looking for a new job, to meet key influencers within a company or make new professional connections this can all be achieved by utilising LinkedIn groups.

However, to get the most out of LinkedIn groups and to be valued as a member or even spotted by influential members, you must be sure to offer some value to the group with every interaction you make. Be sure to make thoughtful comments or provide input about the subject matter being discussed. You must not make direct approaches for employment within these groups as this is seen as extremely bad etiquette. Instead, by making insightful comments and providing interesting responses, you will get noticed and perhaps gain some more useful connections.

Final thought: Have you searched for groups on LinkedIn within your industry? Are you posting interesting responses to the group regularly?

4. Don’t forget your elevator pitch

The first question is ‘do you have an elevator pitch?’. An elevator pitch is a sales pitch of yourself that can be performed in under 30 seconds, selling you as an experienced professional in the best way possible. By having and memorising this pitch you can adapt it and utilise it as and when required wherever in the world you are when you meet key individuals – these could be recruiters, headhunters, potential employers and so on.

Practice your pitch over and over until you have perfected it. Ask your friends, family and colleagues if you could test your pitch on them and get some feedback – another person who knows you well will be able to tell you if you’ve ‘sold’ yourself to them in the best way.

Final thought: If you were a recruiter and you heard your pitch, would you hire you?

5. Other mistakes to avoid

Think about what it is exactly that you want to achieve with your online and offline networking endeavours. Once you’ve identified these you’ll be able to investigate which tools, techniques and investments of your time will help you to achieve these in the most efficient way.

Planning is key to everything that you do. Don’t rush into a situation without having thought about it in detail, thinking about how you can get your message across without being boring, sounding desperate or destroying your connections.

Final thought: How effective is your current plan and use of time? Will this plan get your the best results or could you refine it?

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