Survey: 4 in 10 Managers Say Not Asking for Help is Biggest Networking Mistake
MENLO PARK, Calif., July 23, 2014 -- When you schmooze, if you snooze, you lose, a new OfficeTeam survey suggests. Four in 10 (42 percent) senior managers interviewed said not asking others for help is the top networking mistake. Failing to keep in touch with contacts ranked second, with 28 percent of the response. The study also identified online networking (47 percent) as the most effective way to connect with professional acquaintances, followed by meeting for lunch or coffee (24 percent).
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 300 senior managers in the United States at companies with 20 or more employees.
Senior managers were asked, "In your opinion, which one of the following is the biggest mistake people make when networking with professional contacts?" Their responses:
Not asking for help when they need it
Not keeping in touch with contacts
Not thanking people for their help
Not providing help when others need it
Burning bridges with past employers
Senior managers also were asked, "Which of the following do you find is the most effective way to network with professional contacts?" Their responses:
Meeting in person over lunch or coffee
Attending a local networking event
Participating in a professional association
Participating in personal interest activities (e.g., sports, hobbies, etc.)
"People may not ask those in their networks for help because they're embarrassed or think they can succeed on their own," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "But whether you're looking to land a new job or build your visibility, every connection counts."
Hosking added, "Although networking online can be an effective way to establish professional relationships and keep in touch, the value of in-person activities like meeting for lunch or attending industry events can't be overlooked. These gatherings allow you to put a face to a name and make a memorable impression."
OfficeTeam offers five tips to avoid being a networking novice:
1. Keep it constant. You should network continually, not just when you're at a career crossroads. Periodically check in with your contacts to see how they're doing and update them on any changes in your professional life. Show your interest in helping others by sending relevant news articles or sharing job openings.
2. Act quickly. Follow up with people you meet immediately after an event while the connection is fresh. Along the same lines, promptly respond to any requests that come through your network to build goodwill.
3. Mix things up. Avoid relying on just one method for networking. Use a blend of online and in-person approaches. Always carry business cards and have an elevator pitch ready; you never know when or where you might meet a new contact.
4. Be reasonable. When you ask for help, be clear about what you need and avoid making extreme demands. Don't be discouraged if some individuals lack the resources or time to lend a hand.
5. Give thanks. Show appreciation to your contacts for any assistance they provide and always try to return the favor.
OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. More information, including online job search services and the OfficeTeam Take Note blog (blog.officeteam.com), can be found at officeteam.com.