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“You’re Doing It All Wrong!” – Best Practices for Career Networking

Updated: Jun 26

When we imagine successful networking outcomes… it’s often like ‘sugar plums dancing’ in our head. Happy, joyful, carefree and sweet. But, the reality is often closer to dried up or rejected raisins, which seem a little bitter –that no one desires.

Why does Networking FAIL?

3 basic reasons (though, there are many that follow):

Me, Me, Me or Me, Myself & I

We all have the desire to ‘get what we want’, but effective networking is not about you (it always has to be about the other person 1st).

Selfishness is the primary reason networking fails (our selfishness). But, a secondary reason our networking typically fails is from our own insecurity & lack of confidence.

We fail to plan for Networking (& therefor ‘plan to fail’). Not having a roadmap & goal for the networking event you attend will derail effectiveness.

As will a lack of interest and engagement with others, & not having our questions ready.

Some additional items that prevent networking success:

Going after your take-away in the networking process, before you give to someone.

My advice: Look to give freely / how you can help others (while educating them on ‘Why you are ‘Interesting & Memorable’”).

Giving freely without a ‘transactional expectation’ is a process of continually opening doors. Amazing things happen when you start to continually open doors.

Not having your story, your Elevator Pitch ‘down’. I call the elevator pitch the ‘Best 25 Seconds of your Life!’

Surely, you can come up with why you are “Interesting & Memorable and fit it into 25 seconds (we’re really not interested in your Life Story, or the sad story).

Stop Singing These Sad Songs Yes, it’s tough out there. We may even be desperate, maybe we’re under tremendous financial strain. Welcome to part of being a modern human being, unfortunately. But the sad songs in your story are not interesting, and don’t motivate people to help you –they push people that could help away.

So, get over yourself, your situation & get on to better, effective networking.

Let’s Get Ready To Network

It’s about interacting with other people to provide help and connections. That’s not just a two-way street, it’s a street that goes in all directions.

Networking Etiquette for Success:

In preparation, think about the steps to become prepared, & the Do’s & Don’ts of Networking.

1. Present Well, it’s your chance to create that 1st impression! It determines your value in others’ minds.

2. Everyone Knows Someone (everyone can help & connect you to someone valuable). Don’t make the mistake of pre-judging someone’s value to you.

3. Help / Connect the other Person (whenever you can)

4. Ask… Questions for information / insights on the industry, companies & players.

5. Be Genuine. Nothing replaces this & you can’t fake it. Be a real human being (but, let’s hide the weaknesses by preparing!!)

6. Remember Names. Yes, this is my worst one. I meet many, many folks as a public speaker, so maybe I may have a little excuse I can use there… but use mental association tricks (mental ‘pegs’) to try and capture, then use their name in your conversation.

7. Everyone should be part of your network.

8. If you are awake & with others… you should be Networking.

The Do’s

– Have a PLAN & GOAL

– Get Past Yourself / Give your undivided attention

– LISTEN, converse & interact / SHOW INTEREST in others’ situations & story / Ask Questions

– Find out why the PERSON is ‘interesting & memorable

– Find out what they NEED / how you could HELP


– Get their BUSINESS CARD & write a detail or two on the back, so you can send an engaging email message afterward.

– GIVE before you Take

– Have your Story / Elevator Pitch ready, so they leave the conversation remembering why you are interesting, memorable and how they could help.

The Don’ts

Don’t Monopolize the Conversation

(always make it about them 1st, before it’s about you)

– Watch the Body Language –it can say, “I’m not really interested”

– It’s not about You (in successful Networking)

What’s Left?

If you are at a Networking Event.. don’t forget to keep moving.

“Oh, I see someone I need to say hello to. –It was very nice to meet you.”

And, never forget: Why do people hire & Why do people Buy:

It’s Chemistry & Confidence

Let’s Get Networking!


John Crant

Author, Career Coach & Speaker on Job Search and Career Management

Featured Speaker for

The New York Public Library's JOB SEARCH CENTRAL


In the Media: As Seen As Featured in 

amNY, Time Out New York, The Wall Street Journal (and its, CRAIN'S New York BusinessForbes, CNNBBC, FOX News (on Social Media Marketing), AriseTV, New York PostThe Huffington PostEssence magazine, CareerBuilder and The Ladders

On the Radio: As Guest: WHCR 90.3 FM "The Voice of Harlem"


As an industry manager, executive recruiter, recruiting & sales trainer, event speaker, and as VP of a nationwide system of recruitment offices, I have seen most every aspect of the hiring process and this varied insight is what provides the clarity you will find in this book.


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