It has recently been reported that more than two-thirds of vacant jobs are filled via networking channels, and that a similar amount of LinkedIn professionals consider networking to be critical to career success. There are no doubt many career benefits from building and maintaining robust, interactive and supportive professional connections – even when you’re not actively looking for new job opportunities.
“Networking is not just about connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” (Michele Jennae, Creativity Coach & Author of The Connectworker)
I get that it can feel time-consuming and cumbersome – and at times ‘icky’ – to focus on the nurturing and sustaining of professional networks. But putting time into the establishment of such relationships is likely to pay off, particularly through the broadening and deepening of both your professional and personal scope/prospects.
“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.” (Bob Burg, Business Author, Speaker & Influencer)
- Sharing is no doubt caring
Constructive, impactful engagement with your connections should be about sharing ideas and opinions, and providing support and advice (as required). It shouldn’t be solely about ‘taking’ knowledge and resources from others, without giving anything back in return. Mutually-beneficial interactions are more likely to lead to strong, resourceful, meaningful networks.
- New opportunities may arise
Proactive involvement in professional networks, where reciprocal assistance is prioritised, may open doors that you had not imagined. For example, a connection may advise you of a job opportunity within their organisation, and may even advocate your relevance for that role. Former customers may recommend your services, based on their own positive experience. Such outcomes are more likely to occur where trust, confidence, respect and rapport have been fostered.
- Reputations are emboldened
Professional networks are often platforms for sharing your expertise, as well as ideal sources for enhancing your existing knowledge base. They are also openings for you to raise your profile from a more personalised, ‘softer skills’ perspective, such as being perceived as interpersonal, as well as reliable, considerate and thoughtful. Regular, brand-selling engagement within your networks will also increase your likelihood of being top-of-mind when an opportunity arises.
- Self-belief and willingness to adapt
Without immersing ourselves in others’ views, opinions and concepts, such as via professional networking forums, it is going to be difficult to grow and expand on our existing skillset and knowledge. Tapping into our connections to help us to overcome a business challenge and/or to keep us focused on best-practice approaches, will enable us to positively evolve and transform. This in turn will likely strengthen our self-belief, based on the well-known adage that knowledge is power.
Keep in mind that professional networking platforms like LinkedIn are not only for job searching purposes – they can also be used to build connections and to showcase your core offerings and capabilities. The more that you constructively connect and engage with others within your professional realms, the more likely you are to open yourself up to fresh career opportunities. Keep yourself active, attuned and assistive.
Walton’s Words has extensive experience in helping job seekers compile professionally written, career-selling documentation. We can help construct resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, selection criteria, and any other documentation that will help you win your dream role. So drop us a line or give us a call if you’d like some assistance with your next career step.