As a recent grad and a young professional working a full-time job, I’ve come to find out exactly what it takes to be successful in your career. It’s the one thing you’re probably not doing enough of, the one thing that could take you to the next level – networking.
Yup, you’ve heard about it, but you probably don’t spend the effort on networking that you should. There is something to be said for talent and hard work, but nothing can get you results like networking can.
Read on to find out why networking is so important:
1. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there is some truth to it. I landed my first job out of college with the help of a family friend. I spent months harassing her to find me a gig (thanks, Vic!) – and she really came through. Of course, it wasn’t her responsibility, but with little effort on her part, she connected me to the person who would eventually become my boss.
2. You hear of promotions and new opportunities first.
Because I am obsessed with the side hustle, I’ve met several people in my field (writing) through small projects I’ve done outside of my full time job.
One connection in particular was made after I pitched an article – although my piece wasn’t accepted, a friendship was born. Fast forward two years, and I was one of the first people to land a coveted freelance spot on their new Los Angeles team. Never underestimate the power of your relationships.
3. You get intros to people who can hire you.
Even if you don’t think you have any exceptional connections now, take a look around you.
If my previous two stories didn’t inspire you, consider this: a good friend of mine recently reached out to me about an opening at her office. With one quick email, she set up a phone interview between myself and her boss. Although the job wasn’t something I was interested in, it was nice to know the opportunity was there.
4. The internet is a vast place.
Some of my best assets have come from networking online. You can reach out to just about anyone – that includes people you admire, celebrities, mentors, and hiring managers.
In 2011, with a simple search I secured a position as one of the 20 finalists for a major internship in NYC. Not because I begged or pleaded or had a better resume than the other applicants – but because I got my application in front of the right person.
5. You meet new clients; more clients = more money.
This isn’t particularly relevant to me at this stage in my life, but I’ve seen it working first hand with my friends in sales. Networking can mean anything from grabbing drinks to a formal event – but both of these offer you the chance to meet new people, and if your goal is to acquire clients and make sales, this is your bread and butter.
Even if you’re not selling a product, being social can introduce you to people from all walks of life. You never know who you might meet.
Networking is the holy grail — but not always in the way you think. Reach out, make genuine connections, and be persistent when you need to be. Having a valuable network is just as important as having a full resume.