by Teena

June 25, 2020

NETWORKING IS A CAREER-BUILDING STRATEGY

Let's talk about NETWORKING. Most people cringe when it comes to this essential career-building strategy. Networking is not about collecting paper or virtual business cards, but instead building relationships over time. If you are uncomfortable with networking, it may be helpful to change your perspective about it. Take the focus off of you and think of networking as an opportunity to help someone else. 

You will have all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. – Zig Ziglar

Networking is about giving or paying it forward. When we help other people, then people will be more willing to help you. Be a personal and professional resource for others and expect nothing in return.

The economic landscape is uncertain. Hiring unknown talent is a BIG financial risk for companies. There is considerably less risk if an employer hires someone they know or someone that comes referred to them— it's why your network is so important.

Your network helps your influence. One perspective on this is to network for power and position. Another view is to network to connect and build influence and authority through relationships.

It's critical to realize that that the interconnections between who you're influencing and the interconnections between your network has a significant impact on how successful you are at influencing them. 

Research by Networked Leadership has found that the more effective network you have, the more influential you are both in your organization and personal life.

In a report from the Business Insider, companies are NOT listing 70% of jobs. Some estimate that upwards of 85% of open positions get promoted through networking. 

It's critical to build and maintain your network now and throughout your entire career. Too many of my job search clients require launching a full job search campaign because they are poorly networked. 

How have you been managing your career? Your company does not control your job; you do! 

It would be best if you took charge of your career. Create an open network by building relationships within and outside your current organization. It will make the difference between holding onto your job, moving ahead, or staying put. 

It would be best if you took charge of your career. Create an open network by building relationships within and outside your current organization. It will make the difference between holding onto your job, moving ahead, or staying put.

There are three top reasons to claim the lead in your career and start building a network strategy.

#1 Jumpstart your job search to land your ideal job faster and strengthen your personal brand.

It's important to let your network know that you are in a job search. People can't help you if they don't know. Without clearly defined job targets such as specific positions, industries, and companies, it can be harder for you to find your ideal job and for your network to help.

The diversity of your network can help you uncover job leads in the "hidden job market." As mentioned earlier, there are many unadvertised job openings. Employers often go to their employees for referrals when trying to fill an open position.

If your laid off, start volunteering. Choose a volunteer role that will allow you to develop or fine-tune your leadership skills and give you a chance to connect with people you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to rub elbows with. Plus, when asked, "What have you been doing since your last job?" You will have an opening line..."I've been volunteering..."

Here's a HOT TIP: Create a list of target companies and then do an advanced search on LinkedIn to identify contacts that work at those companies. Often it's your second or third level contacts that are going to be most helpful in your search. Ask your first-level contacts to introduce you to your second-level contacts that work at your target companies.

#2 Keep your position by strengthening your relationships with co-workers and ensure your employer you are providing them an ROI and more. 

Networking doesn't have to wait until you're in a job search; it can happen right at work. Connect with co-workers at various levels and within other departments and divisions. That way, you can share your accomplishments and inquire about their achievements as well. Others need to see you as an integral part of the company, someone who goes above and beyond their job duties.

If you were to lose your job today, who are the ten people, you would reach out to for advice on your job search? Don't wait until a layoff to reach out to them - get creative and find a fun way to make contact and deepen your connection.

HOT TIP: Your co-workers may have a family member or friend that's looking for a new job or a connection. It's an opportunity to do good for others by demonstrating that you can help them, even it's only an introduction or a tip. 

#3 Advance to the next level by being seen as the talent that is a connected leader in the industry. Get on the radar screen of career influencers to set yourself up for a promotion. 

If you're serious about your career and want to move up to the next level, networking can help make that happen for you. Connect with someone who has successfully advanced and engage in a conversation to gain insight into how you can move up from your current position.

You've heard this before—it's not about who you know; it's about who knows you. Who are the career influencers in your industry? These are the people who can hire you or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you. Think of past managers and customers who you admire. A career influencer can also be a mentor or someone who has a career path that you want and has connections and expertise needed to help you do the same.

HOT TIP: Get on the radar screen of someone who can influence your career. Think about the professional associations that they belong to. Join and get involved in the associations—volunteer to serve on the board or a committee, and engage as a member at monthly meetings. It will help you gain visibility and credibility within your industry and demonstrate your leadership skills. 

Start to become more intentional about expanding your network. You can have an active network regardless of whether you are shy and introverted or gregarious and extraverted. What makes someone an effective networker is social monitoring. Social monitoring is your ability to go into a social situation, and adapt to people's social cues, and recognize and match the norms of the group. People who can go into social situations and monitor social signals tend to have more open, diverse connections.

HOT TIP: Take this first step to becoming intentional about the relationships you have in your life. Think of 10-15 people who you consider your core network; these are the people you talk most frequently to and depend on for your professional life. Write them down. Ask yourself, are these people helping me get to my individual or organizational goals? 

Best of luck kicking off your new network strategy and watch your influence grow and you job opportunities expand! 

Teena Evert is a Career Development and Marketability Coach who helps her clients to go after what they want with clear intentions, and set strategies, so they get results and successfully achieve their career goals.

About the author 

Teena

Teena Evert hosts the podcast, The Confident Careerist, and is the CEO and Founder of CLAIM THE LEAD. She is a board-certified career coach, certified career transition and hidden job market coach, certified global career development facilitator, certified trauma-informed career counselor, professional resume and profile writer, certified digital brand strategist, and licensed mental health professional.

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