Career networking is a crucial aspect of building a successful career, especially while searching for a job. In fact, career networking shouldn’t be seasonal. It should become part of our daily activities relating to career because it shouldn’t be missing when you need it; you might never know when you’d need it and some times, career network help you climb the career ladder when you don’t even expect a role change. While it’s ideal to have an active career network, a big challenge could be how to start career networking.
The importance of career networking
Also known as “professional” networking, career networking includes creating familial, personal, academic or professional contacts to assist you with achieving career goals, understanding your field more, job search, or explore more into a different field. Networking with other professional could open doors to knowing about job opportunities.
According to a report by business and employment-oriented service firm LinkedIn, about 70 percent of all candidates hired in 2016 were through companies they had a connection, 80 percent of professionals believe that career networking is important to career success while 35 percent of surveyed professionals opine that casual messaging on LinkedIn opened new opportunities.
Who can you network with?
- Business associates
- People from the gym, social organization, yoga studio, church, and mosque
- Present or past teachers
- Present or past customers or clients
- Present or past colleagues, coworkers, supervisors, managers or employees
- Family friends
- Alumni of your schools
- Anyone you meet and have a professional or productive conversation about career building
Top career networking tips
Target the right people: Having realized the essence of career networking, it’s important to include the people that can assist you with career move. This will determine the set of people you may want to include such as friends with similar interest, businesses associate, people you meet through online networking services, and so on, as mentioned in the previous section. However, your network is not limited to the list or people that can be mentioned here, provided they would serve the purpose.
Always communicate: Contacting friends when you need them would not only reduce your chances of receiving help from them but deter your chances of being contacted when the right move comes. You don’t contact people that can help you only when you want to get a new role or when laid-off from your job. Maintain a steady communication with your network, regardless of how brief, just say hello.
Keep a record of your network: You can only contact individuals you have their contacts. Endeavor to keep a record of people on your career network. Specifically have a book or an electronic platform where you have the list, separated from all your contact. This will help you in knowing those you have contacted and those you haven’t. It will equally serve as a guide when you need to request for career-related information.
Attend networking events: Networking doesn’t just imply virtual communication. You can establish career networks through personal contact. Networking is one of the key benefits of attending conferences. There, most of the participants share a common goal and will be happy to exchange business cards. Be sure to attend if any of your college friends are holding an event. Attending events is one of the key tips on how to start career networking.