Networking. We all know we should be doing it. But similar to going to the gym or starting a diet, it’s something that many of us dread rather than get excited about. As a result it’s something we avoid like the plague. Or we partake in it, but then spend hours moaning about how much we hated it afterwards.
The fact is, in today’s market, building a strong network is crucial to both career and business success. The job market is saturated with highly experienced, qualified job seekers – with approximately 700 people applying to every role advertised. The media is flooded with success stories of wealthy entrepreneurs, inspiring more and more people to be the next big CEO, increasing competition even further in the business world.
It has never been more crucial to do everything in your power to stay one step ahead of the game. In terms of your career, research shows us again and again that the most successful leaders and business people use networking to do just that. Here are 9 reasons why networking should be your top priority for maximum career success:
1) Increased Awareness to You & Your Personal Brand
Whether you’re a job seeker, a business person or looking to advance your career, building and marketing your personal brand is crucial for maximum career success.
As surprising as it sounds, only 30% of jobs are advertised. Employers are relying on referrals and employee networks to hire new employees – to avoid high recruitment and job advertising costs. Unless you go out and meet people, internally or externally, how else will you get recommended or referred for a new job opportunity? Going by the above statistic, an expert approach to networking could increase your chances of job search success or career progression by 70%. In fact America’s ABC reported that a whopping 80% of jobs are landed through networking.
Also note that many people or companies will create a position for someone they believe in. So even if there is no job available at the onset, impress them enough and you could leave with a job offer in hand. Don’t network and the chances of this happening are zero.
2) 60% of Job Adverts are Fake
Recruiters post fake jobs to attract candidates which they can then take to companies to try and sell. There’s no real job – it’s just a way to get your CV and to see what talent is in the market. If you’re spending hours every day applying to jobs online – you are literally working at only 40% efficiency (and that’s assuming your job search strategy is otherwise 100% effective). Stop wasting your time behind your laptop and get networking.
3) Greater Market Knowledge
Meeting new people will give you greater insight into industry, market and company news. You might learn about new companies being built or offices being set-up that could need your expertise. You might gain knowledge into which industries are booming and which ones are slowing down. You might hear about the key challenges industries or specific companies are facing that you know how to solve – making you a valuable resource. Networking events are a great way to gather information that you could use to your advantage and take your career to the next level.
4) Exposure to freelance, internship or business opportunities
I recently went to a networking event where I met someone whose company was downsizing. After finding out more about the challenges they were facing, I briefly spoke about the outplacement services I offer and how I could help them. Within 2 weeks I was delivering my outplacement programme to over 50 employees, empowering them to take control of their careers and find new career opportunities. I would never have known about that opportunity, nor been able to help those people, unless I had attended the networking event.
As a freelancer or business owner networking is a great way of sourcing business opportunities. As a job seeker, particularly if you’re unemployed, you could seek out or be offered some freelance work. Not only could this be an extra source of income but the opportunity could turn into full-time employment. The same goes for internships. And even if the opportunity doesn’t go full-time, impress them enough and they might recommend or refer you to someone else.
You never know who you will meet and what challenges they are going through. As long as you have examples of the problems you have solved and some evidence of how you did it ready at your fingertips – every networking event could open doors you never even knew existed.
5) Opportunity to Help Others
Attending networking events gives you a chance to help others. Life can often be so consuming we often don’t have the time to give back – no matter how much we may want to. Networking provides an opportunity to do something for someone else. You could help them solve a problem directly or connect them to a really useful contact.
The upsides to this are many. Helping people is rewarding and feels good. It’s food for the soul. Not only this, when we’re feeling good about ourselves, we’re more likely network more effectively and leave a better impression than if we’re feeling unsure, insecure or nervous. Research has also shown helping people is good for our health. Helping others will also enhance your personal brand. People will want to have you on their team if you come across as helpful and a good team player.
On a side note, I’m also a firm believer in karma. What you put out is what you get back. Help others and others will help you in return. And in a world as unpredictable as ours, knowing you have a solid network of people all willing to help one another can help make life that bit more certain.
6) Lower costs
Job searching can be expensive. There could be travel involved, or CV enhancement and interview coaching expenses. Building relationships with the right people could get you a discount or ‘mates’ rates in the future. If you’re running a business, networking can save you high recruitment and advertising costs. You might also meet an entrepreneur or small business owner who could help you solve a problem at a markedly lower price than a bigger company.
7) Bartering opportunities
Bartering is a great way to get the help you need – without having to spend any physical money. It’s simply where you swap one service for another. If you’re a job seeker you could meet someone who could help you with your CV or interview skills while in return you could help them with their social media or accounting. If you’re looking to make a hire, you could offer a recruitment agency one of your services in exchange for theirs. Remember – most people will only enter a bartering relationship with you if they trust you and your brand. Building relationships through face-to-face networking will be key.
8) Support Network
Job searching can often be quite a lonely and stressful process. And being a CEO or business owner can also be isolating. Meeting other people in the same boat could give you an avenue to share challenges and experiences and seek support – as well as offer help to others. If you don’t have a coach to help you manage the emotional side of job searching or running a business, joining or starting a networking group to create that support network could be extremely beneficial – to both you and/or your business. Not to mention you might make some great friends in the process.
9) Further Learning Opportunities
Although we might like to think we do – we don’t know it all. Meeting other people can open us up to a world of knowledge and experience we didn’t know before that could be hugely valuable. You might learn about different types of jobs or qualifications you never knew existed, inspiring you to do something different. You might meet someone who would be willing to show you how they run their business, giving you ideas of how to run a team or business yourself. By approaching networking events as an opportunity to learn rather than sell (yourself or your business) – you might actually enjoy the experience a bit more.
What did you think of this article? Please feel free to comment below.
If you liked this article you might also enjoy:
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.