Professional (Career) Networking is for EVERYONE!
Career networking should be part of everyday life in personal and professional settings. While many might not be comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger or going to a new place alone, having a personal network is always something that should be in place. You will never know when or where you will need it. Constantly working towards a large network will help you in a job search and moving along the career ladder.
What is Career Networking?
Career Networking or professional networking is keeping personal, professional or academic contacts to assist with a job search, achieve career goals, learn more about your field or learn about another career field. Networking is a great way to hear about new opportunities and get “in” with the organization you would like to work with.
Networking can help you get hired!
- 70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company they had a connection
- 80% of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success
Linkedin numbers reported of users
Top Networking Tips from Jess
- Attend In-person Events– I understand the need for social media–I use it everyday. This is not an anti-social media post. However, face to face networking needs to be part of a larger strategy. Since there are a limited amount of hours in a day, make sure you are being critical to the clubs you are devoting your time.
- Keep in touch with your network– I like to follow up with my network and send notes to people when they get promotions or new jobs. Keeping relationships positive takes work, but it is worth the time.
- Reciprocity—Do you know a hiring manager for a position and is a friend a perfect fit? Recommend them to the hiring manager! What can YOU do for your network?
- Don’t limit your network– Some people might think “I am an IT manager, so I can only know other IT Managers to be the best IT manager.” FALSE! I was in this trap too. Meet others in any career track–not just your own. Talk to everyone, listen to everyone. You will learn more about yourself by opening your mind and your network.
- Do your Homework–When you go into a networking event, sometimes there are 1,000 people at a single event with a 45 minute “mingle” timeframe. You will not meet everyone–so make sure you are prepared. Sometimes guest lists are online, giving a sneak peek of attendees. It will give you time to craft your list of “must meets”. Do you have a friend who works at a company of your “must meets”, ask them beforehand for an introduction–it is better than a cold handshake!
- Don’t ask for anything in return–Networking isn’t quid pro quo. Don’t even think of asking for a favor in the first meeting. If you have something to offer, make sure you CAN offer it and have the ability to follow through. It will go a long way in the relationship.
- Aim High–This is a personal tip I use, it parallels the saying “What do I have to lose?”. Do you want to meet the CEO of a company, go for it–thank them for doing a speech you recently heard or an article you read about the company (if positive). I always like to thank a speaker for their time at luncheons or breakfasts, you get to meet the CEO while everyone is sitting in their car in traffic. It builds confidence and doesn’t take too much effort.
- Bring a PIC (Partner in Crime)–If you are new to networking, bring a PIC (partner in crime). I had a wonderful networking buddy in my early days. She took me under her wing and gave me the “do’s and dont’s” of networking. It helped me until I was ready to go out on my own.
I am very proud of having a wonderful and robust network. It has helped me in my professional career and my personal life as well. Many of my connections have helped me with personal needs like finding a personal finance adviser, automotive shop for my car, a veterinarian for my dogs and previous jobs before they were posted! A network can be a trustworthy source for you and your family now and in the future.