It’s often been said that being successful in any industry isn’t about what you know, but who you know. Yes, there are plenty of people who find great jobs by answering want ads and sending out impressive-looking resumes to employers, but it’s just as likely that you’ve been overlooked in favor of someone with connections within your industry.
While you shouldn’t stop sending out resumes and contacting employers if you’re looking for a job, it should only be a part of your job search. The other part of your search – one that is arguably far more important – is networking. Networking can take many forms, from large conventions for those within the industry to making connections on LinkedIn. Anything that allows you to meet others within your industry and let others know who you are counts as networking, and it shouldn’t stop once you’ve found employment. Knowing the right people in the right places can help you advance within your company, and it can help you find other business partners if you’re already in a position of influence. In short, networking is crucial in every industry, and it should never end.
Tips for Networking
Networking may be important to your career, but you still need to know how to go about it. First of all, remember that networking should never just be about you. You may be looking to improve your own prospects within your industry, but so is anyone you speak with. Present yourself as a potential asset to a company if you’re looking for employment. If you’re not looking for employment, look at any networking opportunities that come your way as learning opportunities.
Next, take the time to build your contact list. It’s not enough to simply shake someone’s hand at a networking event; you should be exchanging contact information. Make a list of everyone you meet who might be able to advance your career.
Finally, follow up with those you meet. This goes for those you meet in person and those you find online. A simple email that says how much you enjoyed speaking with someone is sometimes enough, but don’t hesitate to make a phone call or send out a thank you card when someone agrees to set aside their valuable time and meet with you. Networking is all about building relationships, and those relationships will be more valuable than any other resource you might have.