The Importance of Networking When Looking for a Job
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: In order to get a job or start your career, networking is the single most valuable thing you can do in your post-graduate life. We’ve all heard variations of this theory for years, and, (I almost hate to say it), it’s entirely accurate. Let me explain why you should strongly consider networking if you have not started your own work connections to the world yet.
I never really saw the point of networking. It can be seen as a “real-world” work-based version of Facebook, keeping in touch with your friends and their careers. But, it’s much more serious and has a lot less cat pictures. It’s people trading information – a good thing if you want outsider perspectives on a project, which can help in a lot of different ways. Personally, networking has landed me jobs. Consider LinkedIn for this specific reason; it helps you to identify your work connections’ connections far more quickly than Facebook, showing you potential connections to job postings. In addition to those, LinkedIn allows you to keep in touch with others without Facebook friend issues: keeping your private and public lives separate. It helps me work towards meeting my career goals so I can eventually have the career that I’ve desired ever since I heard about it. (There are certainly careers out there that aren’t as well known, so ongoing research is always a good thing.)
I reached out for help finding a job through a career network, and got in touch with a lovely person who helped me with my search. Having this person at hand to work with, made me feel like there was a team behind me as I tried to enter the work force – which, for the newest generation entering the workforce – is particularly challenging these days. Personally, I’m optimistic that future generations will have more opportunities than I did when finding an entry-level job.
For me, my original job-search agency got in touch with another agency; this one was more specialized and had better connections, although not well-known for its job-searching abilities, but rather assistance for those with my disability (hearing). Between them, I was able to find something that fit with not only my education, but also with my career goals.
It took time, but those network connections that I had so dismissed earlier actually pushed me closer to my desired career, better than before not networking. So for all of you who may be looking for employment – I strongly suggest that you not ignore that networking advice. Even if the people you meet aren’t able to get your foot in the door, they can keep you in mind when that fantastic first impression comes along, and put you in touch with their own network.
So do some research, and drop by your local job hunt/search clinic from time to time – the people you meet there will be a valuable resource in your job search – even if it takes time for that work to pay off. Consider reaching out towards work agencies because, as in my case, the agency that helped me (even though it wasn’t as well known for their job search strategies), became helpful in the end. As a result, the networking connection I had formed through the original job search agency, won me a job after all- it can happen for you too!