As Jarod Kintz says, “It is not who you know, it’s who knows you.” This quote indicates the essence and intent of networking, meaning to say that it’s not about adding extra people to one’s network, but being connected to those with whom one can establish and maintain mutually results-oriented personal or professional relations.
A candidate’s skills, experience, and qualification contribute in a major role towards getting hired, while we cannot ignore the significance of professional networking in today’s job market. In fact, networking plays the more important role.
A recent LinkedIn survey has revealed that almost 85% of all job openings are filled through networking, so we know that it is important.
It is also imperative to understand that issues with most job hunters do not comprise disregarding the importance of networking, rather it comprises the execution. In other words, the approach of creating and expanding one’s professional networks wrongly is the culprit. It renders all efforts for making full usage of one’s network for the job search in vain.
We also need to remember here that networking is less about the numbers and more about focusing on the relationships a candidate is building, which can be done in a large variety of ways including meeting people either personally or online.
Mentioned below are various proven tips to create and enhance a worthy professional network so as to capitalize on and landing up with the dream job.
Identify the Networking Approach that is Best Suited
The first step is to identify the way networking suits a candidate the best. As experts say, people can successfully build a great network by opting for multiple ways, as there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Usually, a reserved individual is less likely to interact with connections in the same way as an outgoing individual, even though it is at the professional level. Hence, the reserved individual should not adopt the networking style of the outgoing individual while approaching people. Therefore, it’s important to stay confident and comfortable to always begin on the perfect note.
Mind the don’ts of Networking
The two basic don’ts of professional networking in spite of the goal to get hired is:
One should never request for conducting an interview explicitly. Rather, one can put out questions to notice if the company, its employees, and its work culture suit him/her. One must let others observe his/her keenness in learning from acquired experiences.
One should never ask for employment, no matter how good one’s rapport is with the connection. During interactions with new or old connections, one must make them know that one is looking for a new role or job change. One needs to tell them that it would be greatly appreciated if they share any potential opportunities with the individual.
Use Social Media activities wisely
Since, a large variety of social media platforms are available that are able to cater to the networking needs of all sorts of professionals out there. What one can do best is to create connections and interact on two major social networking sites, namely Twitter and LinkedIn.
Network at Workplace
One must ensure to network well within one’s current organization, as colleagues can contribute towards one’s professional growth much more that can be assumed.
Whatever the time spent with the current company, co-workers can always assist to grow in the present role and render lessons that may streamline the path to one’s next role. Sometimes, one may also get to know regarding job opportunities that are not posted anywhere prior to going up.
Impart a Helping Hand
It always seems obvious but is also worth remembering that, like any other relationship, networking can never be one-sided. It has to be symbiotic by nature, while offering mutual benefits to both parties. One has to discover methods to assist people within his/her network and they will be more interested in assisting individuals when the time comes.
Usually, it is majorly about being regular. Therefore, emerging out of the comfort zone and taking some time to interact with people, either online or by meeting them in person, is imperative. One has to choose whether the conversation has to be kept formal or informal.
Pursue and Follow Up
Just after meeting someone worth adding to the network, one must send a LinkedIn request along with a personal message requesting him/her to keep in touch. Once added to the LinkedIn network, he/she can be approached periodically by commenting and liking their posts and sharing career-related information, or just knocking to know if they are doing well.
Ask for Referrals from People in the Network
This is considered as the easiest way to expand one’s network. One has to ask friends, family members, social media connections, or even co-workers to introduce him/her to their connections, so that they can help with a job search and career growth. A friend of a friend can be considered as a beneficial connection.
Managed to attend Networking Events
Another simple way of expanding one’s network is to attend networking events. Most groups and associations like colleges, professional institutions, and industry associations arrange networking events, the details of which can be obtained from local dailies and community calendars.
Also, if it happens that one is the guest speaker at these scaled-down conferences, one can definitely reap huge benefits, as this will make him/her an expert in front of local employers and peers. There are changes that later one finds them approaching him/her to connect.
Get in touch with Professors and College Alumni/Career Service Cell
A strong links that one can build is via college contacts, which especially holds true for freshers.
Fostering connections with professionals associated with one’s college offers a robust platform to share experiences, thereby strengthening the connection. Former professors, batch-mates, or college placement cell coordinators can assist to nurture these connections.
Become a part of Job Clubs
Job clubs are the best place to meet people with common professional interests and career aspirations. It can be a rewarding experience to be part of an ongoing job club, thereby helping one to build some great connections.
Networking with fellow job hunters through job clubs can help to share career advice and best job opportunities available within the job market. A job search coach or recruiter might assist to find one.
Interacting with past colleagues, clients, and vendors can also help. As we switch jobs and employers, we eventually lose connections with former colleagues and clients or vendors. But sustaining connections with these people is not only easy but also worthwhile as we already know them, and we share some common professional attributes with them.
Deploying effort and investing time in a cause is the best platform to network, because eventually one shares space with people applying a common desire to help others. One might not realize it, but making good use of one’s skills and expertise can definitely help one grow as a professional. People volunteering with can also recommend the candidate for the preferred job too.
Unfortunately, the networking opportunity is usually overlooked by job seekers because they tend to be more interested in exploring direct industry contacts. Hence, one has to commence today and find an organization requiring one’s helping hand.
Whether one is a fresh graduate or an accomplished industry professional, networking is always important for him/her. It emerges as a crucial part considering the current hiring trends, which develops skills, adds to knowledge base, and evolves one as a professional.
Simply adding more and more contacts to the network is not going to help very much. Rather, adding genuine people to the network, building mutually results-driven relationships with them, and sustaining those relations can regularly benefit a candidate in several ways, whether it is about career development or landing up with the dream job.