How to attract job opportunities: The importance of building & nurturing your network

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Network Is Power

Now a days, what you know is no longer the only thing that matters. Often, it is who you know and who know you for real that matter.

Never think that if you are bright and hardworking, you already possess everything you need to succeed in life and in your career. You are mistaken. You need other people. You need network.

Your network refers to the extent of your association and relationship with other people and/or groups. However, it is not only about the number of friends you have or the number of organizations you belong to but the quality and consistency of your relationship with them through time.

Andrea Corso, a career and leadership development coach and strategic HR consultant, with over 15 years of HR leadership experience inside Fortune 100 companies, describes networking as follows:

“Networking is about building relationships. It is about finding people from whom you want to learn, who can help you with your career, and also whom you can help. It is a give and take process that requires effort, not only to establish the  relationship but also to keep it going.”

Today, most experts agree that networking plays an important role in the context of career moves. It is not enough that we have good work experience and skills. We need good references and referrals. Lacking a network could compromise our chances of finding a good job. Moreover, there are many unadvertised job openings which our networks can bring to our attention if we maintain our communication with them.

Break-out opportunities can happen in your network: My little story

A friend of hers invited Rocelle for a meeting. A CEO of Canadian mining company operating in Zamboanga del Norte was looking for individuals to conduct a human rights audit for his company. As a human rights advocate, Rocelle got interested in the project. Moreover, she suggested that they invite to the team her college professor and mentor who is a well-known human rights expert in the Philippines and abroad.

Rocelle’s team of human rights experts and advocates completed the audit. The CEO was very pleased about the results of the audit and offered the audit Team Leader a position in his company to champion its human rights policy.

As these events were taking place, I was beginning to get listless in my job. Lying on my bed one Saturday afternoon, thoughts of resigning from teaching filled my mind. I was feeling a sense of urgency to venture outside the four walls of my classroom to find something deeper to sustain my curiosity and a better income to support my family.

After that moment of contemplation, I sent an SMS to Feliece, my former college professor and mentor and told her that I have decided to quit teaching. I thought she would reply saying she was shocked, but to my surprise she said, “Good! Meet me at my condominium tomorrow.”

At her condo the following day, Feliece signed me up as a part of a team she was putting together for the mining company. I was the first person that came to her mind for the position of Information, Education and Communication Officer of her team. The rest was history.

Feliece was the professor whom Rocelle recommended to be the Audit Team Leader of the human rights audit of the mining company based in Zamboang del Norte. It was the same Feliece who was employed by the CEO of TVI to form her own team to institutionalize the human rights policy of the company. And it was the same Feliece who brought me in this company.

Because of that network, I got absorbed in the mining industry and quadrupled my income. As my salary rose to 400% higher than what I made in teaching. I also became experienced on Corporate Social Responsibility, which is a strategic position in most private firms these days.

I am thankful that I maintained my communication with Feliece even after graduating from Philippine Normal University. Whenever she needs a facilitator for some of her Human Rights workshops, she brought me in. In one of these workshops, I met Rocelle.  And again, the rest was history.

Indeed, in this time and age, career networking is a must. By growing your network, both friends and acquaintances, you are attracting breakout opportunities for your professional and personal growth.

5 Tips on Building and Nurturing Your Networks

This list on how to build and nurture your network have worked for me, and I pass it along to you:

  1. Live in different worlds, but make your stay in all places worthwhile so that when you leaved,  you will be missed.
  2. Go out and be visible, but be humble. Be talkative, but be credible.
  3. Always find time to meet your friends and former colleagues.
  4. Greet your friends and colleagues on special occasions. Keep their numbers.
  5. If you are new to a company, reach out to your colleagues. Ask them for an advice on what it is like to work in your company and what it will take to succeed in your new job.

 

The Paris Hilton Principle: Why Connections Aren’t Networks and What You Can Do About It

This is a very relevant article from Shane Atchinson, CEO of POSSIBLE. I agree entirely on his claim that connections aren’t necessarily networks. To close this gap, he identified 5 simple yet ingenious ideas on how to make our “network work harder”…Read on –

The Paris Hilton Principle: Why Connections Aren’t Networks and What You Can Do About It

Shane Atchison

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130213160656-224083-the-paris-hilton-principle-why-connections-aren-t-networks-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

Reid Hoffman just posted a fascinating article about networking and business relationships. He wrote that opportunities revolve around individuals, and you have to make real, human connections if you want to create something big. He should know. In the middle of the last decade, he and many former employees from PayPal met frequently in person while they were building some of the biggest social media properties around today.

But it’s interesting that the “PayPal mafia,” as they are known, relied so heavily on face-to-face meetings to build sites like Linkedin, which facilitates virtual ones. Are social networks simply not up to scratch for creating real human relationships?

Let’s not get carried away. First, nothing beats getting together in person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build similar relationships online. It’s just that many people don’t or don’t even try. Part of the problem is that while social networks make it easy to connect, they also make it easy to be lazy about connecting. Want to stay in touch with someone? Simply click a like button to remind them you’re around. Want to let everyone know what you’re doing? Post a 100 character status update. Because it’s so fast and easy, and so many people are doing the same thing, your communication can easily get lost in the noise.

Social networks also tend to blur the line between shallow acquaintances and real connections. You can easily make 500+ connections on Linkedin, but it’s impossible to remain in close contact with 500+ people. If you send Paris Hilton a connection request, she (or someone who works for her) will almost certainly reply yes. But if you want a job in fashion, she’s probably not going to help you.

So how do you break out and build real relationships online? We’ve started a list of ideas below, but the basic principle is simple: Whether virtual or in person, you get out of networking what you put into it. If all you’re doing is clicking buttons, don’t be surprised that you’re not getting calls.

Anyway, here are some ideas that can help your network work harder—and feel free to add more below:

Make a plan. Figure out what you want out of your network. Then separate your connections into two camps. Those who can help you reach your goals are in your network, the others are simply friends. Don’t neglect the latter, but concentrate on the former.

Communicate one-on-one. Posting in your feed or clicking a like button is fine. But remember, you get out of networking what you put into it. When someone in your network gets a promotion, why not send a thoughtful note that shows you are paying attention to their career?

Make your connections more than professional. Reading what Reid has to say about the PayPal alumni, it becomes clear that getting together helped turn colleagues into friends. If you’re just a connection, people will hire you for your skills. But if you’re a friend, they will find and create opportunities for you if they can.

Don’t just connect with people, connect people. Networking is not a one-way or even two-way street. Actively think about things that can help your connections and reach out to them if you see an opportunity. They’ll do the same for you.

Stay persistent. Even if people don’t respond, don’t get discouraged. Networking is work, after all, and you have to realize that not everyone is going to answer your requests immediately.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, merely a few thoughts on getting started. If you have additional ideas, and especially for ways that brands and companies can “network,” please add them in the comments below. As I said, what you put into sites like Linkedin is what you get out of them. A thoughtful comment can always lead to a useful connection.