Networking is the KEY to securing your next great job opportunity. 

In fact, experts estimate that 75% of ALL open jobs are never publicly posted and 85% of ALL open jobs are filled through a professional network connection. (This applies to contract and consulting jobs, as well.) 

This "hidden job market" can be difficult to access without a strong professional network.

What is networking? And how to do it effectively.

Networking is a critical aspect of long-term career success… especially when you are seeking employment, a career transition, or a promotion.

Your ability to form, develop, and optimize personal connections can significantly affect your professional visibility and increase your probability of securing an interview for a new job or promotion.

Why is networking important?

There are many good reasons to network. It can be incredibly rewarding in numerous ways.

First, you are much more likely to be invited to interview for a job if you are referred and endorsed by a current employee. Additionally, most employers are impressed by candidates who are well-connected within their community and industry. And, you never know when one of your network connections may share a job opportunity that is just PERFECT for you.

Strategies for effective networking

To make the most of your networking process, follow these tips from the expert coaches at Career Creators Consulting:

  • Set clear networking objectives. Before you jump into social media networking or attend any live networking events, establish the “why” behind your networking efforts. Networking without a purpose or a clear long-term career objective is neither effective nor productive.

    NOTE: Networking really is about making and maintaining GENUINE friendships. The relationships you build through your networking efforts should be mutually beneficial.

    With networking, you will be most successful when others perceive you as personable, helpful, and friendly. Networking requires a delicate balance between working toward YOUR career goals and being receptive to the objectives and intentions of OTHERS in your networking.

  • Establish a strategic plan of action. Once you know your “why,” the next step is to develop the “how” and build a clear, achievable action plan. First, identify your unique skills, experience, and capabilities. Then pinpoint the most impactful methods you can use to communicate those “selling points” to current contacts and the new people you meet.

  • Start networking NOW! Be proactive. Begin networking BEFORE you need help finding a new job opportunity. Developing strong, trusting relationships takes time. (It is awkward to ask for a favor if you really do not know someone very well.) The sooner you implement your networking plan, the better!

  • Learn when and where to network. When, where, and with whom you network will impact the outcome of your efforts. Start networking during your regular interactions with friends, family members, and current or former work colleagues.

    Expand out to network with members of groups and organizations where you are already actively involved. Try joining a local community group or professional group related to your particular industry and attend regular meetings.

    Use social media platforms (like LinkedIn) to connect with all of your personal and professional contacts online.

  • Create a strong elevator speech. Knowing how to introduce yourself is often the most challenging part of the networking process. To make the most of your networking interactions, formulate a concise – yet impactful and interesting – 30-second elevator speech (or personal sales pitch) that will create a positive first impression and make people want to learn more about you.

    Need help developing your elevator pitch? Our career coaches can help you develop a personalized elevator speech that will have a powerful impact on all the right people.

  • Practice. Practice. Practice. After you have written and edited your elevator speech, spend time rehearsing with a coach, friend, co-worker, or family member.  Practice using the content during a two-way conversation. Become comfortable with your personal pitch before you put it to use when meeting someone new or during a live networking event.

  • Listen while others talk. Be sure to listen attentively to your peers and provide insights and connections that could help them achieve their goals. The more often you offer relevant information, assistance, or support to your fellow networkers, the more likely you are to receive further opportunities and connections in return.

  • Develop techniques for networking follow-up. Create and deploy a consistent and repeatable follow-up process. Invite every new contact to connect on social media. Send a short email or text message to share how much you enjoyed meeting them or follow up on a promise you made or conversation you had. To maximize your chances of building a strong networking relationship, use a variety of different methods to stay connected after you first meet a new contact.

    NOTE: It is a good idea to tell your new contact that they can expect a message or invite from you. Make sure you have their correct contact information and/or LinkedIn profile so you can follow up.

  • Nurture your existing network. It does not matter how many people you meet unless you actually stay connected and build strong relationships with each person. To maintain and grow meaningful relationships with your connections, try “touching” your contacts at least four times each year.

    Maintain social media interactions. Schedule one-on-one coffee or lunch meetings. Wish your contacts a “Happy Birthday.” Mail them a holiday greeting card. The more effort you invest into nurturing your network, the greater your results and the higher your return on your investment will be.

Career Creators Consulting | Social Media Coaching

Unsure how to get started with your networking strategy? Our professional networking experts can provide the effective relationship-building tools and techniques you need to connect with professionals in your industry and build a strong network.

Ready to get started? Let's start networking today!

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