#1 Networking Is Not About Overselling Yourself
Networking isn’t just about saying “hello” to random strangers and showing the room with your business cards – it’s about building relationships (and even friendships) with people who can help enhance your career through wisdom or *ahem* job connections.
“Too many people go into networking events with the mentality that they should ‘sell’ themselves by exchanging as many business cards as possible”, says Peter. “Networking should be about building long-term relationships with people, not about seeing everyone you meet as a possible business prospect that needs the product or service you’re selling”.
So what should you do instead of giving everyone your 30-second elevator speech that sounds like a bad infomercial? Simple, stop trying to oversell yourself and start trying to have a real conversation – be more proactive in asking people questions so they are comfortable enough to open up to you.
And if you’re looking for a job, don’t blatantly ask for job offers – just talk a little bit about your skills, experience and what you can offer. The person you’re talking to might not need your skills yet, but he might down the road. Also, if you can volunteer your skills and expertise for free e.g. social media marketing, you will not build a stronger relationship, but also get referrals too.
In this day and age, taking opportunities to connect with people overseas can be extremely useful as well, but sometimes due to the constraint of not being in a foreign place for an extended period of time, the temptation to go overboard with selling yourself can be even higher. Getting exposure overseas, whether you are studying or working, is certainly important in this increasingly globalized age, but making the best of your time there to forge new relationships doesn’t have to resemble a desperate speed dating session.