8 etiquette mistakes that cost you opportunities
If you want to get a job, you’ve got to socialize with people in your network. Nearly half of available jobs in Canada are never posted anywhere, and knowing the people who can point you towards them is key to tapping into this hidden job market.
So, get out there and meet as many people as you possibly can. But don’t do any of these things while you’re doing so.
Invade space. Don’t be a close talker or a space invader. Keep a couple of feet between you and whomever you’re talking to. Also, chew gum or bring a breath mint.
Talk too much. We might blather on when we’re nervous. Avoid it by asking questions that get the other person talking. Try to talk 30% of the time and listen 70% of the time.
Talk religion or politics. It’s one of those clichés that is also a profound truth. People feel strongly about these subjects and they often lead to arguments. Only broach these topics if your politics or religion are more important to you than being likeable and getting a job.
Get vehement or argumentative. So, we already know not to discuss your passion for banning big game hunting, or the right to bear arms, but even getting excited about more mundane topics – sports, say – can land you in trouble. Always keep the conversation calm and friendly.
Gossip. It’s never a good idea to talk about people behind their backs. It makes you look small and petty, and there is always a chance it will get back to them, even if you don’t think it will.
Tell dirty or off-colour jokes. You think that joke about the nun and the pickle is hilarious, I know, but keep it to yourself. Jokes at networking events should be free of boobs, butts, nether regions, sexual activity, gender politics, and of course, politics in general and religion. You know what? Maybe just avoid jokes altogether. People hate them anyway.
Get drunk. Research suggests alcohol dulls the brain signal that warns people when they are making a mistake, reducing self-control. It also inhibits your ability to care about your mistakes, so even though you realize that gossiping, starting political arguments and telling dirty jokes is a bad idea, in the moment you don’t care. In the morning you will, though.
Ask for a job. While you’re socializing is not when you should be asking about jobs. Make an impression, find the person on LinkedIn – or connect in some other way – exchange a few messages or tweets, or like their posts – then see if the opportunity to ask about work presents itself without you looking like that was the plan all along. Even better, hope that you’ve been impressive enough that you’ll simply be top of mind if they know of anything. The point of networking is to make allies and get your name out there. Asking people for favours will have the opposite effect.