Did you know that even today 70-80% of jobs openings are filled by a pre-selected candidate, making a formal job posting unnecessary? To be successful in a job market where so many jobs are filled without a formal application process, networking is crucial.
Networking can help you:
- Get a job
- Find a sponsor
- Make new friends
- Get new ideas
In short, networking is the art of building alliances. It’s not just contacting everyone you know when you are looking for a new job and asking if they know of any job openings. Networking starts long before a job search and is an activity you may already do more than you realise.
Whether you know it or not, you are networking when you:
- Attend professional meetings or conferences
- Talk to players, coaches, trainers from other teams and leagues
- Volunteer for charitable events
- Visit members of social, civic, or religious organisations
- Talk to your teammates and coaches
- Develop a social media presence by setting up a profile on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.), following people you would like to know more about, and posting messages and updates on what you are doing on your profile(s)
- Talk to spectators/fans after the game
However, networking is not:
- Making cold calls to people you don’t know. It’s talking to people you do know and asking them to introduce you to others.
- Carefully choreographing meetings and greeting people insincerely. Networking is much more effective when done more casually.
- Just for your benefit. Networking is a two-way street and must benefit both persons to be truly effective. So, when you ask your network for help, be prepared to return the favour.