The 5 Dos (and 5 Don’ts) of Being Remembered After Networking
Have you gone to multiple networking events and walked away with nothing to show for it? You’re not alone.
Networking only works if you’re willing to set aside time for others—and as a job seeker, this creates a huge advantage for you over everyone else.
This is how you can be remembered long after the event ends.
Do: Offer Expertise Without Asking for Anything
People don’t want to help you. They want help with their own problems.
While you also want help in the form of employment or career advancement, you’ll have a far better chance at being remembered by offering to solve a business problem out of sheer interest.
This doesn’t mean selling consultation services—it means providing insights, references to useful products or services, or even just linking the other person to a useful article that sheds light on a business problem they mentioned.
Don’t: Ask for Something Immediately
On the other side of the equation, be absolutely sure that you don’t ask for something immediately. Don’t even be the first person to ask for something after a length of time has passed, if possible.
The key to being remembered after a networking event is to be useful, not needy. You want to be seen as a resource instead of someone who consumes resources (like time and energy).
Do: Ask About the Other Person’s Life
The science is in: people generally prefer to talk about themselves than listen to someone else’s life story. Become one of the few people who actively asks about your new contact—that person might just be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to speak with you.
At the end of the day, employers want people who listen and understand problems before diving in head-first.
Don’t: Talk About Yourself First
You wouldn’t spend an interview talking only about yourself when you could be talking about the employer’s goals, business pains, and vision for success. Why would you dominate the conversation talking about yourself instead?
Employers will immediately throw away your card if they didn’t like speaking with you the first time, so don’t make it about you.
Do: Introduce People to Others
The point of networking events is to meet more than one interesting person, as a general rule—so help your prospective employers find other useful contacts if you have the opportunity.
You wouldn’t want to introduce a potential employer to someone else eligible for a position you might want, but you can still introduce mutual connections in any number of fields:
- Software as a Service
- Commercial Real Estate
- Project Management
- Sales and Marketing
- Operational Consultants
The list goes on. You can even introduce someone you just met at the event, because that’s what networking is all about! Don’t hesitate to expand your conversation group.
Don’t: Overstay Your Welcome
Employers can tell when desperate job seekers glom onto them, and it’s an immediate turn-off. Hiring managers and owners don’t trust desperation because it pushes people to make bad decisions, such as applying for jobs beyond their expertise.
Never take up more than 10 or 15 minutes of someone’s time, even if the conversation is going well. The effect wears off quickly as one person begins to lose interest, and it’s best to end the conversation on a high note anyway.
Do: Follow Up on LinkedIn or Email
This part is critical. Follow up immediately over email or LinkedIn to continue the conversation you had at the networking event. Mutual benefit is the backbone of networking, which makes it important to remind the person of the business pain you had discussed solving together.
Don’t: Just Hand Out a Business Card and Walk Away
No one remembers the person who just throws around business cards. The card itself is just a slip with an email address and a phone number on it. Contacts need to want to talk to you again.
Nobody wants to talk to some random person in a suit who just shoved a card in their hand and ran off to the next batch of people. That behaviour is generic at best and disingenuous at worst.
Do: Ask About Non-Work Details
Don’t just focus on who the contact or employer represents in a professional capacity. Ask them about their vacations, road trips, athletic competitions, speaking events, conferences, or anything else on the personal side (as long as it’s not too personal).
Hiring isn’t purely an exercise in logical resume assessments or interview answers. Employers extend offers to people they like. Become more likeable by taking an interest in the other person’s interests.
Don’t: Gossip About Your Network
Small talk can go a long way toward building a rapport, but never do it at the expense of others. Speaking poorly of another contact will immediately make your conversation partners wonder if they will be next.
Stay likeable and above reproach to increase your odds of having your calls returned when it counts—long after the networking event has ended.