The New Year's Resolution Your Career Depends On
BLS reports that roughly 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking
Networking. Often underutilized, always invaluable. The saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” has been drummed into our heads ever since we first started thinking about a career and for good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.
But once people find work — whether through a friend, a networking event or a good old-fashioned job search — they tend to stop networking.
“One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they stop networking once they get their job,” explained networking coach Diane Darling of Effective Networking, Inc., in a Washington Post article. Networking isn’t something you should kick into gear when you’re in need of it most — rather, a regular part of your professional life.
Why do we stop once we’re through to the other side?
“I want to stop meeting people who are interested in similar things as me,” said nobody ever.
Luckily, now it is easier than ever to network with people.
Embrace social media
Social media allows you to form the networking connection minus the anxiety of initially meeting them in person. Plus, it enables you to carefully craft and nail down your elevator pitch. No more stress about memorizing that 30-second one liner. 140 characters never seemed so powerful.
According to a Society for Human Resource Management study, 77 percent of organizations are increasingly using social networking sites for recruiting. That’s great news for social media savvy job seekers.
Use social media to build your personal brand — everything counts here, as we all know whatever you do online is essentially forever. Establish a tone of voice and don’t be afraid to share your accomplishments.
If you’re running a business or blog, learn about your audience through analyzing page insights and make a targeted effort to network with those people. You can even learn about networking events in your area through social media, as well as how Gangnam Style “broke the Internet.” I’ll let you be the judge of which knowledge is more useful.
Network with people lower on the totem pole than you
You never know who will someday be in a position of power. If you treat networking like you treat your nondiscriminatory affinity toward ice cream flavors, you’ll be hobnobbing with future CEOs in no time.
Of course, you can’t network with everyone, so who do you target? No matter how high-ranking or low-ranking someone is at their organization, there is a factor that is more important when it comes to networking — that person’s ability to connect you with others (they’re often called “Connectors).”
The power of a network lies inherently in numbers, and if you can have others working for you, so to speak, the more time you will save and the more people you will establish relationships with. Keep in mind the way social media platforms operates — suggesting connections you may know, who you should know and who are in your field. If the person you meet mentions another person in your field that seems like someone you would like to know, ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction.
Understand that connecting with someone only once is different than establishing a valuable contact
Busy people (everyone?) fall victim to this. You meet a driven, successful individual, connect on a professional networking site, Twitter, or wherever and then never talk to that person again.
Do you have to start businesses with everyone you shake hands with? Nope! But periodically checking in with valuable contacts is a good idea, even if it’s just to ask how their project is going.
Take time to personally email someone the day after you meet, and if you think of it, put it in your calendar to follow up in a month, two months — whenever. Personally, I use iCal and set alerts so I don’t forget. Maybe they are about to build a website and need your expertise, or at the least, you’ve then reminded them you exist and are a good person for saying hello.
Networking is like exercising. It’s better to never stop because once you do it’s harder to get back in the game. I know what my New Year’s resolution is.
Monster Wants to Know: How important has networking been in finding your job or career? Share with us in the comment section.