Networking to your Dream Job
Why networking to your dream job works
Networking to your dream job can seem impossible, but it is becoming increasingly important. To demonstrate how important networking is these days for finding new career opportunities: about 80% of jobs are found through networks. Not only because job applicants find work through their contacts, but also because more and more organisations only post vacancies in their networks and don’t go public with them.
Networking is all about targeting the right people to get you where you want to go. You will have to find people who can help you get into an organisation or help you advance in your own organisation. Because as you may be well aware, even in the organisation you already work for, being considered for a certain positions requires the support of sponsors. If you have your own business, a network is important to grow your client base. So it is important to have a strong network. Read: A women’s network that really works! In that respect: The bigger and broader your network is, the more contacts you have to engage in your search.
How networking for a dream job works:
Define your goal
What do you want to achieve? Find a new job? Maybe in a certain industry? Establish credibility as an expert in a certain area? Move overseas? Depending on your goal, you can define who you need to target. Think about who you may want to connect with in your organisation, at university, among your family and friends. When you make an effort to research their backgrounds, you may find that many of your contacts have interesting network themselves which you benefit too.
Build a diverse network
You may have heard of the “six degrees of separation,” which is based on Milgram’s “small world experiment.” He conducted the experiment in order to determine how many people were needed to deliver a package to a final recipient living on the other side of America. It took only four days, and two intermediaries, to get the package delivered—hence, the “small world.”
A large and diverse network can help you create a similar “small world” and give your sphere of influence an enormous boost. In the end it is not just about quantity. The quality of your network is important too. If everyone you know if the same age and sex as you, shares your cultural background, and works in the same area, your network is not diverse at all. On the other hand, if you network with everyone from 20 to 80, with a variety of cultural backgrounds, in different kinds of jobs in different industries, you have a very diverse network. If you want to know what your NQ is, your networking capability, take this free assessment. It gives you networking strategies too!
Reach out to key people
This relates back to your goal: what do you want to achieve? Only then can you decide who can help you realise your goal. Even if you don’t know the person you would really like to connect with: don’t be afraid to reach out to key people. When the interest is genuine, almost everybody likes to be noticed. Tell them you share their passion, that you admire their work, that you would love to be kept up-to-date on their activities, research, etc. and it would really surprise me if they would not connect with you. Read: 5 Ways to Get Connected and Network to Success
Cultivate, nurture, grow it before you need it
It is important to build and maintain your network before you actually need it. It takes a lot of time and energy to build a network. You have to get people to notice you, like you, trust you, value you and believe in you. If you wait to build connections until you need them, it will be too late. So what can you do? For example, you can share information that you think might be interesting for them (articles, blogs, etc.), congratulate them on their new job, or send them an email from time to time to give them a short update of what you have been up to and your achievements (so you stay in the back of their mind). The stronger the relationship, the more they will be willing to help you when you approach them and to speak up for you when important decisions are made.
If you need help to maximise your online presence and establish a top quality personal brand, then take a look at this free download How to make the most of LinkedIn for career and business success
Networks are meant for sharing
There is plenty to go around. The good thing about a network is that it is like a magical cake that never finishes. If anything, it grow bigger: the more you share, the more you receive in return. If you help people, they will help you too. And the best thing is that it will make you feel really good when you are able to help others by sharing your knowledge and your network!
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