An individual must take into account several factors in order to be successful in his or her career. To begin with, you must possess a certain level of education. Consider the case of a retail manager. An associate’s degree from a community college or high school diploma may be all that is required for this career. Primary school teachers, for example, typically hold a four-year degree from a university of their choice, equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. A higher-end career such as becoming a doctor or lawyer requires approximately seven years of college attendance.
Upon obtaining an education for these careers, it is imperative to find a place of employment. After that, you may begin your career and pursue your life goals. In spite of this, the situation may not be as straightforward as it appears.
Once you have worked hard to prepare yourself to work in the field and to build a career over the course of your life, you will discover that careers are much more than the simple “known” aspects of them. The one common ground that many career-oriented individuals fail to consider is an aspect that can make or break any career developed after higher education has been achieved. But what does “it” actually mean? Networking.
Make Or Break
Often referred to as career networking, networking involves making use of your contacts (personal, professional, or academic) to assist you in your career development. Career networking is important to help you in your job search, with a shift in employment (when necessary), with learning more about your current career and how to grow it in an optimistic manner, or with a complete restart of your career if so desired. Taking part in networking is an excellent opportunity to learn about companies you are interested in working for, people with whom you may choose to develop professional relationships, or to help advance your current opportunities for advancement and everlasting growth.
The concept of career networking is often confused with the concept of workplace communication or career communication. In spite of the fact that the two may appear to be similar, they are actually quite different. The communication between colleagues is a simple method for communicating within the workplace. It may take the form of a simple chat, such as:
- “How is your day?”
- “The weather is beautiful today.”
- “Did you see the new bulletin posted in the employee break room?”
- “I hope you are having a good week so far!”
It is important to note that although these are kind forms of communication, they are merely forms of workplace communication. This is also known as career communication. In career networking, you add people to your network in order to advance your career or to enable you (or them) to grow in unexpected ways.
Why Choose To Network?
Networking can take many forms. Instead of asking “why,” perhaps we should ask “why not,” since this would be a more reasonable response. The purpose of networking, however, is to strengthen your career. The following statistics should be considered in relation to career networking.
- Most professionals are still skeptical about networking.
- It is the most important way to find and keep customers and clients.
- Over 75% of customers still prefer to speak to the person/practice they are doing business with via face-to-face.
- Nearly 85% of job listings are filled through networking.
- Less than 70% of all jobs are actually publicly posted; the word of mouth is the quickest avenue to spread job awareness still in the age of modern technology.
- Executives who refuse to network at least one time have admitted to losing almost 1/3 of all of their clients.
- Professionals claim that their top reason to attend trade shows is to network with vendors and prospects.
- More than 8 out of every 10 professionals consider career networking to be the most important aspect to their success.
- Regular interaction can lead to more career opportunities both in and outside of your field of work.
The Five K’s Of Networking
Networking is an art form in and of itself. Networking can have a direct impact on your career, so it is equally important to know who you should consider networking with. To illustrate, how do you decide who is the best person to network with? It is fairly straightforward to determine who is best for you, regardless of your current or future profession. Those who you have known in the past are just as important as those you know now. It is therefore imperative that you do not exclude any of the following individuals in order to maximize your networking abilities.College alumni (both undergraduate and graduate)
- Colleagues, co-workers, and associates
- Managers, direct and indirect supervisors, executives, department heads
- Clients and customers
- Personal and professional acquaintances including those you meet through volunteer work
- Professors, educators, and teachers
Networking is as much about the people you choose to network with as it is about how you network with them. During your career networking efforts, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Keep in touch. The purpose of networking is to maintain constant contact with individuals associated with your career path. In order to maintain a healthy relationship, you should not simply approach someone with what you need or want, since that results in a very one-sided relationship. It will not be beneficial to you or your career if you do this. Check in regularly with your network, even if it is only a casual wave and quick conversation or even an email to see how they are.
Know the power of your network. You may be able to locate employment through your network even if you are not in need of employment or are not considering changing jobs. As a result of networking, you will be able to gain insider information about organizations that you may want to work for in the future through referrals. Additionally, they provide insight into the job market at any given time, anywhere in the world.
Key people are the right people. The purpose of your network is to include all those who may be able to assist you in your career development. In this context, co-workers, colleagues, associates, managers, direct and indirect supervisors, executives, department heads, clients, customers, etc., are all included. There is no limit to how long and extensive the list can be. The type of connection that may shed light on some aspect of your career is the type you will want and need.
Kudos to giving back. In order to be effective, networking should not be viewed as a one-way street. There is a mutual exchange of information between you and others. Make certain to share newly posted jobs with your network first when you encounter them on the job market. Being able to assist someone in your network to obtain a new position will give you a sense of satisfaction. The exchange of knowledge should be reciprocated whenever possible.
Knab the chances to networking. Take advantage of every opportunity to engage with others throughout your career, whether online via social media or in person. There are many ways to accomplish this, including participating in a mixer among professionals or interacting with others on social media as they are also seeking to expand their networks. No opportunity is too big or small.
The concept of career networking is one you should take advantage of if you have not already done so. In essence, it is intended to advance your professional (and even personal) life in ways that you could not accomplish solely on your own. Depending on the situation, it may take the form of a meeting, a casual conversation, a mixer, a social function, or in other ways that are not anticipated by the average person. Giving back to your network is equally as important as receiving from them. Everyone involved in networking benefits from this relationship, regardless of their profession or industry.