Let's face it, we live in a world where the older generations can just about figure out how to use Facebook. Yet, we remain at the bottom of the career ladder, pining to get to the top. We have only just entered the real world - catapulted from education into work - and there is no instruction manual from now on.
We understand the fear. We understand how uneasy you feel every morning, when thinking about the future of your career, the career you aren't even entirely sure you're suited to. As Bob Marley sang, 'don't worry about a thing', we're about to get you kitted up for your mountain trek. So dear friend, let's fill your Millennial Rucksack.
What Is Networking?
Briefly, networking is defined as 'an interconnected group or system; to form business contacts through informal social meetings.' It is recognised as a tool to develop your knowledge of your chosen career path, your career itself and even a way of exploring career options.
Networking Is Key
Today our smartphones connect us to a world of various social media platforms. We reach out to one another using Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, FaceTime, Twitter and Skype to name a few. Whilst immersed in this vast ocean of the digital world, it can be easy to forget that face-to-face interaction is second to none.
The deep and powerful connection between people that is formed via face-to-face encounters cannot be mimicked via technology. So, creating opportunities for yourself to meet new and influential individuals is vital. The old timers say, 'it's not what you know, but who you know', I think it's about time we paid attention to that.
The Hidden Job Market
Welcome to the dark side. There's a not so well kept secret about the job market; not all jobs are advertised publicly. Therefore, there are tons of vacancies that are waiting to be filled. Employers are actively avoiding advertising expenses as well as the overwhelming amount of applications that may come as a result of an advert. Put simply, not all companies have the time or resources to contend with advertising posts. Not forgetting, that more popular jobs, may have already received many adequate speculative applications for employers to choose from.
A lack of networking is the equivalent of a job searching and career progression invisibility cloak. Increasing your visibility by developing your personal brand, effectively communicating who you are and what you have to offer are key steps to success.
Have you ever watched the Specsavers advert? It usually stars a poor soul with terrible vision, sporting the incorrect prescription glasses, ending up in a woeful situation. You, do not want to be, under any circumstances, the poor soul on the job market. Learning to network effectively, improves your career vision.
Continuous networking helps to increase your awareness of new opportunities. Over a period of time, new jobs and a diverse collection of employers become increasingly apparent to you. More importantly, employers gain a clear vision of you.
The world is now highly connected with networks spanning across countries. The great geographical distances between people no longer negatively impact the rate at which connections are made or the quality of them.
Focus & Aims
Open to a wide range of opportunities, it is important that you develop your focus. Creating and noting down clear career aims will help you set achievable goals. Additionally, developing your focus will help provide a better sense of security; narrowing in on options will make networking more manageable and effective.
Attending relevant conferences, keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in your career field and interacting with like-minds will enhance your networking experience.
Getting out there and discovering much more about what it is you wish to do in life can be very exciting. Similarly, it can also be quite daunting. Talking to professionals, often more experienced and established than yourself is a major aspect of networking. Sweaty palms are to be expected. Pairing up with a close friend and going to networking events could help settle some of those nerves. However, networking is about presenting your own unique brand, and it is vital that you forge genuine connections as an individual.
Professional networking is not a sprint, rather, it is a marathon. Building up your network is a continuous effort that continues throughout your life.
Making a conscious effort to network will help you become a well informed candidate. Being able to communicate a wide range of knowledge of your chosen industry will help you stand out from the crowd. Forming the right connections could open you up to relevant work experience. What is more, it keeps you on your toes, spotting new and exciting opportunities. Committing to enhancing your network will open doors for you.
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