When you’re searching for a new opportunity, you know networking is an important part of the equation. But in order to leverage its power, you have to take the right approach. If you don’t, you could actually be sabotaging your efforts to find your next leadership position.

What are some common networking mistakes candidates make – and how can you avoid them going forward? Here’s a look:

#1: Putting yourself first.

As leading executive headhunters in Northern, CA, Pacific ExecSearch knows networking is a two-way street. It’s not all about you and your job search. Keep that in mind next time you’re at a networking event. Instead, rather than simply thinking about what you can gain from the experience in terms of job leads, approach networking as a way to make new connections and build relationships. Even look for opportunities to help someone else out. When they can, they are likely to return the favor.

#2: Not keeping your word.

If someone asks you to connect them with a colleague and you say you will – but never do – than that’s going to reflect poorly on your reputation. It may not sound like a big deal. But these small details can add up over time and have a huge impact on your reputation, good or bad.

#3: Not making the effort to network.

You might think your skills and experience will open the door to your next job. But the fact of the matter is that many opportunities aren’t always advertised. So if you don’t network, then you won’t find out about these hidden jobs.

#4: Trying to amass as many contacts as possible.

When it comes to networking, quality trumps quantity every time. So your goal shouldn’t be to connect with as many people as possible. It should be to form authentic relationships with people you’re interested in getting to know and potentially building a relationship with.

#5: Getting offended.

When you’re networking, don’t act entitled or ungrateful. If someone gives you access to a contact in their network, understand that your behavior is a reflection of them. So if you reach out to their contact and ask for a favor and they turn you down, don’t take it personally and get angry. Just thank them for their time and move onto someone who’s willing to help you.

#6: Not saying thank you.

When a contact connects you with a potential opportunity, or points you in the direction of someone who can help you in your job search, make sure you say thank you. Even if the opportunity doesn’t work out as expected, be sure to show your appreciation.

If you’re trying to network your way into a new leadership role, Pacific ExecSearch can help. As leading executive headhunters in Northern, CA, we can help you uncover opportunities no one else knows about and guide you toward achieving your career goals. To learn more about how we can help you advance your career, please contact us today.