Dos and Don’ts of Tech Networking Etiquette

Tech Career Hub
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
June 25, 2024
two men smiling embracing hugging at networking event

Networking is about building relationships, not just exchanging business cards or LinkedIn requests. Navigate the complex world of tech networking with confidence and poise.

One of the most effective ways to get a leg up in the tech industry is to make a strong first impression.

How do you do that? By honing your networking skills.

Whether you're looking to land your first job, meet hiring managers, or climb the career ladder, understanding the nuances of networking etiquette is crucial. Making new connections is arguably more important in the tech industry than any other because of how heavily weighted referrals are by recruiters and in the larger tech job market.

Below, you’ll find a list of dos and dont’ts that will help you expand your networking experience and make the most of any networking opportunities you land, be them online and offline. These aren’t hacks, but rather behaviors you should adopt and sharpen as part of your personal brand.

Dos of Networking Etiquette: 10 Networking Tips

1. Do Your Homework

Before attending an event or connecting with someone online, research the company or individual. Understanding their background, work, and interests can give you a conversation starter and show that you're genuinely interested.

2. Do Use Social Media Effectively

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for networking in the tech world, as are other social media platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and Discord. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date. Use a professional photo, write a compelling summary, and highlight your skills and achievements.

See our 14 Must-Know LinkedIn Tips for (Aspiring) Tech Professionals by clicking here.

3. Do Personalize Your Connection Requests

When sending a connection request on LinkedIn or another platform, include a personalized message. Mention why you want to connect and how you can mutually benefit from the connection.

4. Do Attend Tech Meetups and Conferences

Participating in industry events, meetups, and conferences can help you meet like-minded professionals and expand your network. Be approachable, ask questions, and engage in discussions, even if it’s just a virtual meeting or virtual networking event.

5. Do Offer Help and Value

Professional networking isn't just about what you can gain; it's also about what you can offer. Share useful information, introduce connections, and provide assistance when you can. This approach can create lasting and meaningful relationships.

See 7 Online Communities for Aspiring Tech Professionals by clicking here.

6. Do Be Respectful of Their Time

Tech professionals are often busy, so be mindful of their time. Keep your messages concise and to the point. If you're requesting a meeting, suggest a brief coffee small talk or a quick Zoom call.

7. Do Be Mindful of Your Body Language

If you are able to participate in face-to-face, in-person business networking, be especially mindful of your body language, mannerisms, and actions as part of your networking etiquette practice. Here are some considerations to make:

• Maintain eye contact

• Shake hands warmly and diligently

• Be engaged in the conversation

• Have contact information handy, like a business card or QR code

8. Do Join Professional Groups

Join relevant groups on networking platforms like LinkedIn, Slack, Discord, Reddit, and more. Participate in discussions, share your knowledge, and connect with group members to expand your network. Moreover, you can find professional online networking groups that cater to your specific niche, vertical, or a particular characteristic trait you want to share, such as ethnicity, sexual orientation, regional location, and more.

9. Do Prepare Your Elevator Pitch

Be ready to introduce yourself and explain what you do in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. Your elevator pitch should highlight your skills, experience, and what you're looking for in your career. Not only is your elevator pitch a great icebreaker, but it can pull on a common thread that will propel the conversation further.

10. Do Follow Up

After meeting someone at an event or connecting online, follow up with a thank-you message. Mention something specific from your conversation to jog their memory and express your appreciation for their time.

10 Don'ts of Networking Etiquette

1. Don't Be Pushy or Aggressive

Avoid being overly persistent or aggressive when trying to connect with someone. Respect their boundaries and understand that not everyone may be available or interested in networking.

2. Don't Send Generic Messages

Sending generic connection requests or messages can be off-putting. Always personalize your communication to show that you've put thought into reaching out, especially if you’re inquiring about a new job or a role they’re connected to.

3. Don't Focus Solely on Yourself

Networking is a two-way street. Don’t just talk about yourself; take an interest in the other person. Ask questions about their work, interests, and experiences.

4. Don't Neglect Your Online Presence

An incomplete or outdated online profile can hurt your networking efforts. Regularly update your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts to reflect your current skills, experiences, and your overall personal brand. There are templates you can follow to correctly and professionally update your information.

5. Don't Overuse Jargon

While it's important to demonstrate your knowledge, overusing technical jargon can alienate your audience. Keep your language clear and understandable, especially when talking to someone outside your specific field.

6. Don't Ignore Follow-Ups

Failing to follow up after an initial meeting or connection can leave a negative impression. Always follow up with a message thanking them for their time and reiterating any discussed points, and always respond to connections that have taken the time to follow up with you.

7. Don't Be Unprepared

Going into a networking event or meeting without preparation of your elevator pitch or small talk talking points can make you seem unprofessional. Know who you want to talk to, what you want to discuss, and have questions ready.

Similarly, if you’re attending online networking opportunities, be sure to check your internet connection ahead of time, know the formats of any programming that will be taking place, and still be sure to be timely and punctual — even if it is virtual.

8. Don't Forget to Listen

Active listening is a key part of effective networking. Pay attention to what the other person is saying, show genuine interest, and respond thoughtfully.

9. Don't Burn Bridges

The tech world is interconnected, and word can travel fast. Always strive to maintain professional relationships, even if things don’t go as planned. You never know when you might cross paths with someone again.

10. Don't Neglect Your Current Network

It's easy to focus on expanding your network and forget about nurturing existing connections. Regularly check in with your current contacts, share updates, and offer your support.

Expand your tech networking etiquette skill set at App Academy

Mastering networking etiquette is essential for success in the tech industry. By following these dos and don'ts, you will create opportunities that may help advance your career.

As an App Academy student, you won’t just learn the foundational programming skills needed to work in tech — you’ll hone your networking etiquette and learn how to build meaningful connections that will help you as your move up the tech ladder.

Click here for an overview of our programs. You’ll find links to talk with our admissions team and start an application.


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