Let me let you into a secret: Most jobs are not advertised.
I know you see all the LinkedIn posts, the recruiters hustling for business, the candidates applying for jobs online, with recruitment agencies and applying directly to companies – but here’s the thing…the jobs you really want aren’t advertised.
So who is succeeding and why are they succeeding? Well, they are making themselves known. And how? They are networking.
So let’s break it down and explore five different reasons why networking is important for your career advancement. It’s never too early or too late to start. Whether you are a networking newbie or a seasoned pro with career aspirations, have a read and see what you can change today and how you can embrace networking as part of your future career strategy.
Believe me. Networking is everything.
So here is the thing: It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.
Let me repeat that.
It’s not WHAT you know. It’s WHO you know. Or to be even more precise, it’s WHO knows YOU.
Have you been hiding away all these years? Not getting involved or putting yourself forward for projects? But you know you are destined for greater things, higher heights, the upper echelons or a seat at the boardroom table?
Well then, let’s get started on turning things around and getting you up and running to carve out your successful path.
Here are my top 5 reasons why networking is important for your career, the key to your career growth and ultimately to your success.
1. Building Relationships
Building and fostering relationships is a key aspect of all networking, whether you are employed or self-employed, whether you are a start up or a scaling business.
It is everything.
I find that, in general, people have this false notion that building relationships is a finite activity that can be accomplished in a matter of moments or in a short space of time.
This simply isn’t true, so let me shatter that belief for you right now. It takes time.
Networking is like compound interest on your pension. It ONLY works with time.
Focus on building healthy relationships with your team members and colleagues. This is your starting point. Not only will this lead to a more positive working environment, but it will also lead to new clients and amazing projects. Bit by bit, as you get involved, you will be building your reputation and making a name for yourself.
2. Career Progression
In my previous corporate career, when people would ask for career advice, I would say this (amongst many other things):
- Do your job to the best of your ability. Most people do their 9-5 and leave. Most people don’t have huge aspirations. So if you do, start working out how to stand out.
- Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
- Offer to help on projects in areas that give you more experience and broaden your connections to other areas in the business.
- If you have your eye on a particular job, find out what it takes to get it. Then set about breaking it down by experience, function and find ways to get the necessary exposure and experience to move forward
Networking, as I’ve mentioned above, is all about who knows you. It’s simple really, so how are you making your talents known and trusted by others?
For the getting to know you part – many of these moments can be fleeting, e.g. 5 minute conversations while making coffee in the canteen or that water cooler moment. Don’t underestimate how and where ideas and connections can be made.
Be aware. By putting yourself out there, people will start to notice you. They will encourage you and invite you into new projects. You’ll gain experience and a positive reputation.
This will help you when it’s appraisal time, and for when you are seeking a raise or that promotion.
Also, be the one who is not afraid to stand out and invest in others. If you seek a management position, learning to manage people is a key skill that is needed. It’s not generally taught and yet it’s both critical and one of the most difficult things you’ll do. Mentor others, invest in them, learn to develop other aspects of yourself. Your generosity will be noticed.
Problem solving ia s key aspect of any career progression. Do you know how to solve problems and bring solutions to the table? Solutions very often come in the form of knowing people who can do stuff, or knowing people who know people.
You get to know people by networking. Networking outside your firm, company and organisation…diversity is a key strength to bring to the table.
3. Career Transitioning
It’s time to move on. You’ve reached a plateau and there is no where to go in your current company. That’s ok. Very few people have a job for life these days, so there will be many chapters in your career. Not only do you want to change, you want to branch out to a whole different area.
Wow! How many emotions are you feeling right now? Angst, excitement, worry, exhilaration, fear, determination – it’s going to be a mix. It’ll be up and down.
Talking to people who are doing what you want to do is a great way to short cut the process and get advice from those who have trodden the path before you. They may know someone who has a position that is open for you or what training courses to do, what networks, both online and offline to be involved in.
Start finding out the places that your desired industry network and get involved. The quicker you dive in, the quicker you’ll achieve yourself.
Yes, I know this is much easier said than done. Trust me, I’m a shy (once paralytically shy), introvert so I get it. But you can do it. And I can help you get there.
Career transition coaches are a great idea to consider. I didn’t know this was a ‘thing’ until quite recently. I wish someone had told me earlier. It mightn’t have taken me as long to get to where I am right now…but then again, my path has led me to where I believe I am supposed to be.
(My mission – to get people networking and achieving success)
4. Job Searches
Time to scout the marketplace for something new, something that pushes you further and makes you learn and earn more?
Your network is a great source of input and guidance for working towards your new goal. When you know what you want, connect with your network to ask for tips and advice. This might be in relation to a particular company or type of job.
You can ask for background on a company, what it’s like to work in, in terms of culture and ethos, what the career progression opportunities are like. Ask your community for support to help turn your dream into a reality. Generally people are very open to helping.
Online is a great source of intel.
Everybody has a network of their own…
5. Opportunity Knocks
If you aren’t visibile, you can’t be found. That’s the bottom line in life. If you want to be found. If you want to progress, then takes steps to make yourself known. This doesn’t have to be about being loud and brash. It can be small and it can start with baby steps.
So many people keep down a full time job, so the networking can benefit the career, but also benefit building up a side hustle – perhaps this side gig is what you really want to do and you will need to network to make it happens. It’s all about connections.
As I’m sure you’ll have guessed, I’m an absolute and utter networking advocate.
Learning to network is a game changer. It’s empowering, helps you raise your game, helps you reach your potential, builds your confidence, helps you solve problems.
A key thing about networking is that you build your network for tomorrow, not for today.
Have a look at my blog on how to follow up after a networking event or meeting to find out what to do with all the new connections you make!
Happy networking. And let me know your stories.
Let’s keep the #networking conversation going!
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