Networking: Don't Get Caught With Your Skills Down

Compiled By Deborah Austin Networking is a crucial competitive tool for any executive and pays huge dividends if a job search becomes necessary, says Paul McDonald, executive director of consulting services firm Robert Half Management Resources, Menlo Park, Calif. But executives still commit networking faux pas, says McDonald, including:

  • Assigning staff members to attend industry events, thus missing networking opportunities. Executives should attend professional association meetings whenever possible.
  • Skipping networking receptions preceding business functions. Instead, arrive early, scan sign-in sheets, seek out people to meet.
  • Limiting one's circle of contacts. Besides peers, your network should include professionals at varying experience levels and outside your industry.
  • Overlooking new venues. Try to meet at least three new contacts at social gatherings like sporting events or parties. Always carry business cards.
  • Being overly aggressive.
  • Failing to record pertinent information. When receiving a business card, jot notes about the bearer's conversation to jog your memory later.
  • Neglecting appreciation. A simple thank-you note or e-mail always is appropriate.
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