Today, it seems like finding a job is often times important to know someone within the company along with having a decent resume. Resumes don't always cut it anymore. Think about it, networking and knowing people within an office, or someone who can vouch for you can be a key factor in whether or not your resume gets a second look. When looking for a job, networking is very important! It should also be noted that you can also use networking in a positive or negative way. Sure, connecting with people may be a good idea, but you can also abuse that use, or put people in awkward situations. If you are trying to get in with a company and you aren't a great worker, it could put your "inside source" in a compromising situation. Here's some things you shouldn't be doing while networking.
Relying solely on the internet
I find that in today's technological world we can get a ton done without even having to meet with people. In fact, the Maine Credit Union League (my employers) are about two hours away from where I live. I definitely rely on Email and phone calls because driving two hours to work every day would be nuts. Don't forget the importance of face to face time with co workers and potential clients. People are more apt to remember something that you say if you say it to their face. Emails can be deleted, calls can be missed but meetings mean more. Don't rely just on your emails. Make sure you get some face time in while networking!
Stop networking once you have a job
Many people try to get contacts while looking for a job. It's nice to have people in all areas so you have connections throughout the business world. Often times, however, the searching and networking will stop once you find a job. Don't make that mistake! You never know when your employer will need a favor or even a better position will open up somewhere. The more you network, the better opportunities you can have in the future. That's not to say don't focus on your own employment, but don't give up on meeting new connections just because you've started a new position.
It can't be one sided
When you network, understand that you also have a voice and you could be a credible source for people who need references. It may be hard to wrap your head around it (I know it is for me) but as you get older, and especially as you have more work experience, your perception and opinion of someone could be the ticket into them getting a job. Don't be selfish and only tap their resources when they need it. Let people know that they are open to using your skills as well. Case in point, I shoot photography as a hobby and people know that about me. I've taken pictures for UMaine sports, a local restaurant and various other outlets of people in need. In return, I have been able to use their resources as well. Win win!
The Wall Street Journal had a great article about Networking No No's. Check it out if and when you get a second! Seriously...go click on it.
Do you network?