Networking – why you should give it a go & what to do
As a career coach I know the importance of networking, both from the perspective of finding a new job, but also from the viewpoint of developing great relationships that can help in your career progression from a mentoring perspective. I also know how the thought of career networking can scare even the most confident of people.
When you consider that between 75-80% of jobs are not advertised but filled through other means mainly through networks, it makes sense to include yourself in those networks. The picture below outlines the various options available to fill a vacancy. Organisations start at the top of the inverse pyramid and work their way down. Those looking for a job, however tend to start at the bottom of the inverse triangle and work their way up. This is where fewer jobs exist, coupled with increased competition. I’m not for a moment suggesting you don’t use recruitment agencies or adverts on SEEK. What I am suggesting is that in order to find a new position, utilise all options available. If getting a new job is important, then networking needs to be part of your job search strategy.
Networking can take many guises, you can network face to face, on line through the likes of LinkedIn, at conferences, in groups like Meetups, on the phone or even with your children’s friends parents (who knows who they know)! You can network via a hot lead such as through a referral or as a cold call target, when approaching an organisation directly. However you decide to do it, the benefits are worth it. The more you network, provided you do it in a professional and respectful manner, the more leads you will see coming your way.
How to Start Networking
- Reconnect with and revive your existing network.
- Start compiling a list of people you want to reconnect with.
- Reach out to former clients and vendors, professional associations, community groups and lifestyle groups. Check in with people and find out what they’re up to and update them on what you’ve been doing.
- Rely on your existing contacts to expand your network. Ask for their referrals and recommendations to their connections at your target companies.
- Identify industries, and companies you would like to work for.
- Be clear how people can help you.