With the present state of economy we are facing the worst job market since the Great Depression. I can’t stress enough the importance of networking. We are currently living in a time where it is more important who you know, rather than what you know. I am not underestimating one’s knowledge, however it is valuable to network and reach out to others. Think about the following situation, you are a business owner of a large sales company and you are looking to hire a new account executive to manage your sales accounts. You are faced with two possible options:
- Try to hire the best possible candidate through job postings, hiring a recruiter, and other forms of selecting the best candidate.
- Reach out to a few of your peers (David, Betty, and Marie) that have a large network and have affiliates with the neighboring universities where you can find an excellent candidate that is approaching graduation.
Which option would you choose? I personally would rather hire a potential candidate from the recommendations of David, Betty, or Marie.
Networking is all about building relationships and helping others. While this seems like a simple concept there is more that networking entails. A few key tips to master the art of networking are as follow:
- While it is important to attend events to meet individuals within specific circles, you should always wear your “networking” hat and have in mind that everyone you come in contact with can be a valuable addition to your network.
- After you meet and interact with these individuals exchange contact information (whether this is via the preferred form of a business card, or exchanging a phone number, email address, LinkedIn or Twitter account, or another form of contact).
- Make sure that you FOLLOW UP! Yes, I am aware that I placed this all in caps, but without proper follow up how do you expect to maintain a successful relationship and continue further communication?
These are some tips that I have picked up throughout the years and believe if these are mastered networking becomes more manageable. In any event, networking is a time consuming process and it is no coincidence that the word “WORK” is included in the word netWORKing. Please follow these tips, feel free to share with others in your network, and hopefully your network will continue to grow.