When it comes to marketing your career, networking is the key, but before kicking off, some basic homework needs to be attended to.
There are 2 essential questions to consider:
Where are you now?
Where do you want to be?
We often devote more time and effort to a short-term holiday than planning our career, but you can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where that is. As Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian put it, “a person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.”
Identify the holes or voids in your network, between to the job you have and the job you want that will facilitate your move. Consider who are the right people that will make this happen for you.
As well, asking for advice further develops your network of contacts to help you in one of the following ways:
- Your new contact at an event tells you about a job posting.
- A colleague hears about a new company in town that is hiring and passes it to you.
- A former work colleague hears of a vacancy in their new organization and lets you know.
- A professor knows an executive recruiter (headhunter) who specializes in your area and introduces you. This has happened to me umpteen times.
- A former boss knows someone with influence or information and sets up a meeting for you.
- A friend that’s a member of the Rotary Club offers you a position in their organization.
A quality contact is anyone in a position to offer you a job or arrange for an interview. Therefore anyone with eyes and ears open for you is a precious contact. The Laws of Physics dictate that you can’t always be at the right place at the right time, but by developing and nurturing your network you have exponentially increased the size of the net of people who may work for you.
Once in that new job, don’t stop networking. Networking is the most dynamic and effective method of facilitating upward mobility.
You’re essentially marketing yourself and if you choose to network in your newly found job with the same level of vigor and enthusiasm that got you that job in the first place, then you’ll increase your visibility, which fuels even more new opportunities.
What you know and what you learn is important. But it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.