By Lee Higgins, Founder
Time is one of our most valuable resources, and in today's world, we often find ourselves stretched thin and chasing after our endless to-do lists. It's not uncommon for people to say that they're "too busy" to network, especially those in high-level positions who are already juggling multiple responsibilities. However, if you think that networking is not worth the time and energy, you might be missing out on opportunities to grow personally and professionally. In fact, not building a diverse network ahead of looking for your next job can actually cost you more time in the long run. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons why networking is crucial for your career success and how you can create time to fit it into your schedule.
The Power of Hidden Job Market One of the most compelling reasons to network is that the majority of the job market is hidden. According to LinkedIn, 70% of jobs are never published publicly. This means that if you're relying solely on job boards and applications to find your next role, you're missing out on a huge chunk of the opportunities that are available. By building a strong network and staying in touch with your contacts, you increase your chances of hearing about these unadvertised positions and getting a foot in the door ahead of the competition.
The Reality of Referral-based Hiring Another statistic that should grab your attention is that 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Referral-based hiring has always been popular among employers because it reduces their risk (and cost) in hiring someone who might not be a good fit for the company culture or the job requirements. When you have a solid network, you can tap into the power of referrals and get the inside track on job openings before they're even announced. Moreover, when someone recommends you for a job, you already have an advantage, since you've been recommended by a trusted source. Many hiring leaders will know the person they want to hire when a vacancy arises, they are often looking at the wider market to benchmark that person and make sure they're not missing a superstar. However, the pressure of hiring and having to get it right often means that the hiring leader, more often than not, defaults to the person they already know.
The Value of Professional Relationships Networking is not just about finding a job. It's also about building relationships that can help you throughout your career. By connecting with people in your industry, attending events and conferences, and participating in online forums, you can expand your knowledge, get advice, and stay on top of industry trends. Moreover, by helping others in your network, you build trust and credibility, which can come in handy when you need a favour or a recommendation in the future.
The Costs of Time and Frustration If you're still not convinced that networking is worth your time, think about the costs of not networking. As mentioned earlier, if you don't have a diverse network, you might have to spend more time and energy looking for your next job. This can be frustrating and demotivating, especially if you keep getting rejected or don't hear back from employers. Moreover, if you don't have a strong network, you might miss out on opportunities for professional development, mentorship, and collaboration, which can impact your long-term growth and success.
The Strategies for Effective Networking Now that we've covered why networking matters, let's talk about some practical strategies for fitting networking into your busy schedule. First, start with your existing contacts, such as colleagues, alumni, and friends. Reach out to them regularly and ask for introductions to their contacts. Second, attend industry events or conferences where you can meet new people and learn from experts. Third, utilise social media platforms and communities to connect with professionals in your field and engage in conversations. Finally, be strategic about your time and set realistic goals for the number and types of connections you want to make each week or month.
Final Thoughts Networking is not a luxury that you can afford to skip, especially if you're serious about your career growth and success. By building a diverse network of contacts, you increase your chances of finding your next job, staying on top of industry trends, and getting valuable advice and more importantly, support. While networking does require time and effort, the benefits can far outweigh the costs. So next time you feel too busy to network, think twice and invest in your future.