February 10, 2015
In an age where we have more ‘relationships’ online than ever before, networking for job is now as easy as a few keystrokes. Most people view their social network on and off line as simply their friend circle. From the people they hang out with to the old friends they just want to check up on from time to time. The reality is if you’re in the pursuit of a new job, or if you’re about to start your career, networking is vital to getting off on the right foot.
Elizabeth from HCA Healthcare put it most succinctly by simply saying, “Networking is key!” (Read more of her response here)
Anyone you have a relational connection with is your network.
Networking can be intimidating due to the abstract nature of what it entails. The easiest way to start networking is with people you already know and then branching out from there. First it will give you great initial connections with individuals around your organic relational sphere of influence. Second this will also give you the opportunity to network in a much more low key environment to give you experience and put you at ease.
As Nicole from ManpowerGroup put it, “This [Networking] is something you should really work on because networking is so important in the job search process. Look at it this way, if someone approached you and asked you for help would you be offended? Most people like to help others and are happy to do what they can. Maybe start networking with friends and family first until you become comfortable enough to extend your network.” (Read more responses from our experts on this topic)
Keep your radar constantly on alert.
By this point you’ve probably heard various professional athletes or political figures talk about their personal brand. Their personal brand refers to what they care about and what they represent. Every second of every day you are representing your brand. This is vital to keep in mind because the things you say and do communicate truths about who you are.
At any point in time you can happen upon a networking opportunity. The key is to be wise about when and how to bring up conversations with individuals. You can find opportunities to network at restaurants, bars, the coffee shop down the street, or the grocery store. It’s important to represent your brand well when you’re in those spaces too.
Rediscovering the art of networking, so that you can fast track your career.
Networking is an art form unto itself, because it requires an acute awareness of yourself and the situation. It’s not impossible to master, but it does take practice, and consequently, time. If you can master this you will be able to network your way into a position at one company, and then work your way up by using the same art form you mastered when getting your start.
Carrie from AT&T said this, “Often, the key to networking isn't that you will connect with the person directly who may hire you, but connect with other people who will network for you!” (Read more of what Carrie wrote here)
At the end of the day you are networking all the time. You are communicating ideas about who you are every second of every day. The point is to be aware of the messages you’re sending out, and capitalize on the opportunities afforded to you by your everyday interactions.
Network, and enjoy the left lane of career opportunities.