Your network is your net worth, this is one of the most thrown around phrases when you are in the workplace. What does this statement even mean??
Has there ever been a time when you needed a favor done for you and you knew exactly the person who could guidance and help? You told them that you needed help and they provided the solution because they are your friend and people naturally like to help out.
How many times have you heard the story, “I interned at company XYZ and after the internship, I was hired.” Over the internship period, those people gained the trust of the people at the company and showed their work ethic. They became an asset that the company could not afford to let go. These are two examples of having a strong network being beneficial to your purpose.
Take a minute to think about this question: who are all of the people who have an influence in your life? Your friends? Your family? Your previous relationships that you have moved on from? Your teachers and bosses? Your peers?
What about the people in the industry you want to work in?
Networking is very important for a few different reasons:
- First, you never know when a past experience will be of value. This isn’t to say that the professional that goes to coffee with you will bend over backward for you – however, place yourself in a interview: Let’s say the interviewer was co-workers with one of the people that you have networked with. That is a commonality that you can ask and talk about with the interviewer; it will show you are someone who is well liked and active and would be a good hire. (Here is a link to questions you can ask at an interviewer that will help ace the interview.)
- A personal anecdote: I have received in-person interviews by emailing the correct person. By being proactive and taking initiative, I have skipped over the online applications and jumped to the front of the line by knowing the right people. I didn’t always get an offer, but if your goal is to get interviews, spreading a wide net can only increase your chances!
Find a point person in your department who has a lot of contacts and constantly ask for emails and phone numbers of professionals to converse with to gain the trust of workers in the industry.
- Second, networking increases your understanding of what your industry has to offer. During my job hunt, I spoke with people from all over my area in all different financial positions. I talked to analysts, bankers, managers, traders, and looked to get insight into what each of these roles would entail. By doing so, I could get an understanding of what I would like doing.
Reach out to people in the industry who you think would be interesting to speak with to get an understanding of what goes on day to day at various companies in your prospective field.
- Third, you can get a feel for the lingo that is used in your profession. Have you ever walked up to other individuals talking about what they do and have no idea what they are saying? How do you begin to understand? When you talk to experts in a field, they will know when you are spewing non-sense and when you are actually knowledgeable in your studies. By understanding what language the people in the industry use, the more knowledgeable you can make yourself sound when you go for an interview. This only comes from asking and listening to seasoned professionals. If you want to walk the walk, you need to talk the talk!
I have a few posts on informational interviews. Informational interviews are very important in the process of networking. Networking events are great, but 1 on 1 encounters are much more beneficial.
Here is a list of questions to ask on an informational interview.
It’s a numbers game, the more contacts you have, the more your knowledge will grow and the more confident you will be. With increased awareness and confidence, going to the interview will be a piece of cake as a result of networking.
By increasing your network, you will be increasing your net worth. Your net worth will increase by the vast amount of opportunities available to you and the number of relationships that you will be able to call upon when talking to others.
Linkedin is a very powerful tool for young adults. Being able to see the job history of employers is very beneficial! Use it, it is free!
One last thought: how many people do you think know and have a relationship with the president? Do you think that the president could have gotten to his spot without having a strong network? This is our goal: to grow and obtain meaningful relationships to have a successful future.
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