When you think about it, 85 out of 100 is a lot. Remember making an 85% on a spelling test? Not a bad score at all. That’s why my eyes widened when I read a survey revealing 85% of jobs are filled through a particular avenue. Know what the avenue is? Well, it isn’t cold calling (ah, the dreaded cold call—who really enjoys calling companies of which there is no prior connection?). It isn’t utilizing an employment center or website. It, thankfully, isn’t scouring the streets for a “Now Hiring” sign. It’s networking! 85% of jobs are secured through networking—wow!
What is networking, really?
Networking is making and maintaining meaningful connections with others. The goal isn’t using others for one’s benefit, but appreciating each other and helping each other when possible.
Most well-intentioned people enjoy giving others a recommendation or connecting two people who may benefit each other. Imagine if you had a brilliant experience at the barbers; when a friend or neighbor is asking for a barber recommendation, you’d likely be happy to offer your barber’s name.
Similarly, if you have an upstanding friend whom you know would make a committed employee, you’d likely be happy to connect them to your or your neighbor’s place of employment.
The following three suggestions will help you be the one the members of your network will want to recommend.
- Be a person of integrity. Neighbors, family members, classmates, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances know if one is honest, reliable, and trustworthy. If there is one deal-breaker for putting someone’s name forward for an open position, it’s knowing the individual can’t truly be trusted. (Note: Nobody is perfect! If you recognize you’ve let someone down or not lived up to your word, simply offer a genuine apology.)
- Step out of your comfort zone and meet others. Don’t merely attend functions, conferences, groups, and classes, be an active participant who introduces oneself to others, seeks commonality, and jots down the contact info of those with whom a connection is made.
- Regularly touch base with the members of your network. Check on former coworkers, childhood friends, neighbors, family, and those you’ve made connections with in the past. You don’t have to be ongoing best buds with everyone, but an occasional, thoughtful message and inquiry shows you care. You certainly don’t want to “ghost” someone until the day arrives you want their help.
APH CareerConnect networking resources
To learn the ins and outs of networking, peruse the following:
- Tools for Finding Employment: Finding Job Leads describes the various strategies for finding a job, including connecting with your social network.
- Principles for Expanding Your Professional Network When You Are Blind or Visually Impaired identifies how you can develop professional relationships.
- Benefits of a Strong Social Network shares about the mutually beneficial elements of your social network.
- Game On: Networking Your Way to Becoming a Brave and Brilliant Professional reveals how you already are networking.
- Unlocking the Potential of Your Social Network explores how you can help others.
- Crafting Your Sales Pitch: An Employment and Transition Activity To Keep in Your Pocket explains how to share about yourself to others.
Armed with networking knowledge and a desire to develop mutually beneficial relationships, don’t be surprised when you secure your next job through your social network. After all, 85% is substantial.