Working a room can uncover hidden job opportunities, as long as you avoid some common networking mistakes.
Networking mistakes are easy to make to Japan, especially for those who are out of practice or not familiar with local customs. Failing to keep an active network can hinder your employment prospects if you suddenly find yourself in the tough Japanese job market with no contacts or references. In Tokyo, for example, it is far easier for people to find work when they have already established solid business connections.
Outlined below are several top business networking tips and tricks for overcoming the most common networking mistakes we have come across and securing that coveted position in a Japanese company.
Tip #1 Attend Business Networking Events yourself
When you delegate responsibility entirely to other members of your team, you risk missing out on valuable networking opportunities. Whilst it can be particularly difficult to pull yourself to an event after a long hard week, you never know who you might encounter that could help you professionally.
Tip #2 Don’t Skip the Pre-Business Function Networking Receptions
Arriving early and mingling with the day’s speakers and guests allows you to hone in on the individuals who can most benefit you in your career aspirations. If the event is specific to your industry it can be a great place to pick up a new client, or hear about a new job opportunity.
Tip #3 Never Stop Networking
Networking doesn’t stop after you leave the latest event, function, or fundraiser. Make an effort to meet at least three new contact at every social gathering, sporting event, and party you attend. Always carry a healthy supply of business cards with you wherever you go. Just remember that in Japan, the highest ranking person exchanges cards first, and both the giver and receiver should use both hands and keep the received cards on display throughout the meeting.
Tip #4 Never walk in with a hidden agenda
Always be up-front if you're looking for assistance in your job search, and be prepared with a 15-second elevator pitch. Others will appreciate your candor and be better able to help you.
Tip #5 Don’t be Overly Aggressive in Following-Up
While it's important to communicate regularly with people in your network, avoid becoming a disruption.
Tip #6 Write down pertinent information quickly
After meeting a new contact and exchanging business cards, jot down a few notes about your conversation on the back of the person's card to jog your memory later.
Tip #7 Show appreciation
Always let people know you value their help. A simple thank-you note or e-mail is appropriate.
Networking with colleagues has the added benefit of creating new business opportunities. Even if you're not in the job market, staying in touch with others in your industry provides a chance to brainstorm strategies and share best practices for remaining competitive. Next time you attend a business networking event, see if our business networking tips and advices can help you get more out of the experience, and help you progress in the Japanese job market.