As a young professional, I made many networking mistakes. I see those junior to me making the same errors, from missing the opportunity to talk to someone who can help them advance to avoiding making connections with journalists. These are easy to correct, though.
To help, here are eight common networking mistakes that PR novices make:
1. Forgetting about digital networking. LinkedIn and Twitter can be used for conversations and networking—they just happen to be online. Too often, young professionals create a LinkedIn profile to get a job but abandon it once they start working. It’s an accessible, high-visibility networking platform that affords your personal brand a solid foundation. Twitter is a complementary tool that can help you understand important issues, allow you to join industry conversations and help build rapport with reporters.
2. Connecting without context. Simply hitting “Connect” on LinkedIn and sending the templated “I’d like to add you to my personal network” no longer makes the cut. Using the connection function should be used as a conversation starter, not simply a request. I never connect with someone I don’t know if they don’t have a relevant message.