A quick google search will tell you that over %70 of jobs are found through networking. But what does that actually mean?
It means that, for many people, jobs are found through “word of mouth” and personal referrals. It can be a challenge to get noticed among the scores of resumes submitted to online job postings. Sometimes, knowing the right person at the right time can be the most effective way of getting a job.
It won’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort to build an effective network. But with some dedication, and the help of these tips, you can be on your way to becoming a networking pro.
Tips to Networking Effectively
Map your Network
Mapping your network is a great exercise to show the various connections that exist within your personal network. Often this process uncovers a much larger personal network than one would have expected to find. Begin your mapping process with your inner circle of close friends and family. Expand outwards to include acquaintances, past coworkers, and people you went to school with. Don’t forget to add any community groups or clubs that you belong to, like sports teams or special interest groups. Try to include as many people as you can think of! When you have expanded your map as far as you can, look for any connections between people in your network. Try to pinpoint key people who are well connected within your network, and those who have large networks of their own.
Stay in Touch
It’s important that you nurture your network. This means staying in touch with the individuals in your network – particularly those who you have identified as key contacts. Key contacts are the individuals in your network who are especially well connected and have the potential to expand your network through introductions and referrals. Staying in touch can be as simple as sending the occasional note, email, or phone call. For key contacts, you might want to consider a coffee or a lunch date from time to time.
Another important aspect of nurturing your network is through practicing generosity. Relationships are a two way street, and the best way to develop positive relationships that are going to benefit you in the long run is by being generous with your time and skills now. Identify something that you can offer to your network contacts – a skill or specialized knowledge – and give it freely. Be generous with your time as well; set aside time for conversations, give referrals, and make introductions. The more you give to your network, the more you will get in return.
Identify your Champions
Within your network, there will be individuals who are willing to champion you. These are the people that you call on when you need a reference or a referral. They are people who will bring your name up when they are engaged in their own personal networking, and will extol your virtues willingly and with enthusiasm. You probably already have a few of these people in your life (Hi Mom), but they might not be the most well connected individuals in your network. By following the above strategies, you can grow your network of key individuals and turn them into champions!