Career Advice

The Importance of Professional Networking

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING
Have you ever stopped to realize just how many people you know? Think about it, I mean really think about it. The people you know are important for many reasons because they are a part of your network.  Especially if you are looking for a job, that’s where professional networking plays a part. It’s all about making contacts and building relationships. Once those relationships are nurtured, it can result in jobs. Therefore, the importance of professional networking is key.

Professional networking is not only great for jobs, but other work-related opportunities. It provides a professional way to talk to people about your job search and career desires. This communication can then lead to obtaining support, leads, referrals, information and advice. All these aspects are important in the professional world.

 

Professional networking is great for obtaining jobs and other work-related opportunities

 

YOUR NETWORK
Let’s take a deeper dive into your network.  As you scroll through the list below, ask yourself if you know anyone in these areas:

– Alumni associations
– Business Owners
– Clergy
– Children’s contacts (PTA, Little League, Clubs, Parents of their friends)
– Club members
– Former employers (supervisors and coworkers)
– Friends
– High school & college classmates
– Internship & job associates
– Mentors
– Neighbors
– Parents’ friends
– Professors
– Professional associations
– Professionals (Accountants, attorneys, bankers, dentists, doctors, insurance agents, pharmacists, stock brokers, veterinarians)
– Relatives
– Salespeople
– Volunteer associations
– Your school’s career service staff

When reviewing this list, it’s best to write down all the names of those who you can possibly network with and assist you.

 

PLAN YOUR WORK AND WORK YOUR PLAN
It is always important to know how to connect professionally with people in your network. Therefore, start off by knowing how to professionally present yourself. Let people know about your employment goals. Prepare talking points and be ready to present yourself in a 30 second elevator pitch.

Having your elevator pitch ready at all times is important. A networking opportunity can happen at the least expected time.

Watch the video below to see why practicing and knowing your elevator pitch is important:

JOIN GROUPS FOR FREE
Joining groups is a great way to network with other people with your career interests. One great place to connect is on LinkedIn. In the search bar of LinkedIn, type in the group of interest. Depending on the group, you may have to enter information about yourself, or go through an approval from the group administrator. Groups have different rules and regulations. However, these are great groups to join because they are free.

There are other social media sites you can join groups in as well. So do some research to find out which groups are helpful for your field.

Many times when joining groups, you will receive information. Sometimes that information may have job opportunities attached.


ATTEND CAREER FAIRS
Attending career fairs is a great way to network with employers to obtain a job. Even if you are an alum, you may be able to still attend. Call your alma mater’s career services office to find out how they may be able to help you find employment.


KEEP A LIST OF CONTACTS
Once a contact is made, keep a record of who you contacted and when. This can be done quickly and easily by using a spreadsheet or other tracking device. As you are contacting someone, it may be helpful to be able to inform the when you originally contacted them and when to help jog their memory.


STAY CONNECTED
Once you make contact staying connected on LinkedIn is a great idea because staying in future contact with them is important. Remember that people are often busy and may forget to follow up with you. Therefore, you may need to follow up with them instead. If you do decide to follow up, give people an opportunity to get back with you. Do not overdo it as you may be seen as being “pushy”.

If someone is able to assist you, keep them abreast of your job search status. They may wonder from time to time how you’re doing, so let them know. Having that connection on LinkedIn is great because you can send them a message using that platform.


Saying thank you goes a long way


SAY THANK YOU

Saying thank you goes a long way. If anyone helps you, make sure to show your appreciation by thanking them in person and with a letter. Having an attitude of gratitude is so rewarding for the person who has helped you and they will be very appreciative and make them feel good.


Did you know?
It is said most jobs are never advertised – up to 85%. How are those positions uncovered? Through networking.


TALK TO PEOPLE EVERYWHERE YOU GO
When looking for a job, it is not the time to be shy. Talk to people and find out their interests and tell them what your interests are.  You just never know where the conversation will lead. I have found that to be true for myself on a few occasions.


FINAL  THOUGHTS
Networking can play a huge part in obtaining a job – if done professionally. There are ways to approach networking so that it can truly be advantageous to you. It is quite amazing just how many people are in our network when the list is broken down.  Therefore, the best place to start is by reviewing the list above and and writing down everyone you know in the categories provided. Remember to say thank you to those who assist you in your search.

I wish you all the best in your career endeavors.


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6 thoughts on “The Importance of Professional Networking

  1. This is a really helpful post. I am still in school yet find this invaluable since I never thought about professional networking – let alone how much it could assist me in getting a job in the future!
    Thanks for the article!

    1. Dom, thank you for visiting my site and for the comments. I think many people – students and professionals – may not think about the importance of networking and what it can do for you. Because of that, I love teaching that aspect in the classroom. Since you are still a student, everyone you come in contact with as far as classmates, professors, your college’s advisers, etc. are all a part of your network so keep that in mind as you get into your career. I wish you well in all your future endeavors. Please come back and visit again, soon.

  2. This powerful post couldn’t have come at a better time. Launching a website I’m learning how Important networking is for potential clients. After reading this amazing post and watching the videos I have an even better understanding. The one thing that really stuck out to me was your list of all the networks you can have other than social media. Your posts are always spot on and are helping me so much with my building a successful website. Again thank you so much for the help and Guidance that you give through your articles.
    Best Wishes,
    David

    1. David, thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind words. I really appreciate it. I am so happy to hear this article is helping you and your business. That is awesome! Until we talk to others, sometimes we just don’t realize the people around us are our network. Then knowing how to nurture those relationships then becomes very important in our future for growth. As in your case, for your business. Once again, thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind words. Please stop by again soon.

  3. Hi Yvette,

    I will start off by saying I could of done with you and this article when I started out in life! I didn’t have what you would call ‘finesse’ .

    I’d walk in off the street and just ask for a job. Back in those days if they liked you, and there was a job available, they’d give you a go! That was great and I was seldom out of work.

    Today, I have to do a Masters in Psychology in order to impress recruiters. I have to know how to sit, watch my tone, and research the company to show I am interested.

    You are right when it comes to thanking others. It is profoundly important to thank all people who help you. When seeking such helpful people always make sure you find out what it is your potential employer wants. Too many times people are asking for what they want and actually puts employers off. Find out what it is they are after in you and make sure you tell them that.

    I am sure you cover this, but I have discovered you should always, even if you are going for a cleaning job, turn up in a suit!! It shows you have pride. If you have pride in appearance then you will have pride in your job. I turned up to a factory job interview once and the interviewer, after seeing others that day, said I was the only one in a suit.
    He barely asked any questions but the main one was when I could start! In his mind, he hired me on the spot! True – story, employers love suits, I guess It makes them feel they are hiring above the pay you are seeking for the job as if they are getting more for their buck!

    And, I got that job word of mouth – Networking!

    The importance of professional networking is vital to securing any kind of position. Whether it be a top professional role, or in my case, a factory job – be sure to always turn up in a suit!

    Great article Yvette and I learned so much here.

    – Philip

    1. Philip, thank you for visiting my site and for the comments. You bring out so many of the topics I discuss throughout my site and you are correct on each of them. I teach students all the time about the importance of doing research on companies as soon as they find out they have an interview to show they are interested.

      You also brought up another great point. I also discuss the importance of “dressing for success” by wearing a suit. That is awesome you got that job because you looked so professional. Great job!

      You are again correct when it comes to your posture with sitting correctly, watching what you say and being able to convey what you bring to the table and how you can help that company…all great points. Please come back soon to my site and you will see these topics covered here.

      Once again, thank you, and I look forward to seeing you here again.

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