That post was born after I read a comment by storiandblog on that post I published about my experience volunteering for an NGO. In that post, I mentioned how volunteering can help you create a network, which will be the topic of today’s post. In her comment, she made a very interesting point about something she had read in the past ; she said that at some point in your career, people assume that you have the necessary skills. At that point, only one thing makes a difference: the people you know, that is to say your network. To me, it is very true and I have already seen people being less skilled than they must be to get a given job get that job thanks to their network. Unfair? I am not one to judge but today, I am going to teach you how you can do the same, and how you can do it well. Ready? Let’s get started!
A necessary skill in today’s society.
Let’s be honest, networking has never been as important before. With so few jobs available, knowing people in your industry has become a must, and networking (meaning knowing people who may help you professionally and whom you may help too) a much-needed skill.
The importance of LinkedIn.
In that post, we referred together to the importance of the social network LinkedIn when it comes to that skill. That platform allows you to digitally connect with people you have met in your school or professional life and to keep a list somewhere of all the people you have worked with in the past.
You can also follow companies you may be interested in and the more complete your profile is, the more job opportunities you get sent. Altogether, I really think it is a MUST.
The problem with networking & the 2 categories of people.
You can also network “physically” which means that when you have an internship or go to a cocktail, you can talk to people (you definitely should!) and do your best to leave them with a great feeling about you (be polite, respectful and every other very logical and natural thing a well-bred human being must be).
The problem with networking is that no matter the medium through which people network, there seems to be two categories:
- The ones that use other people to get a promotion and are too business-oriented.
- The ones who totally give up on networking because they just do not feel like using people.
I really think we can all do better, and here is how.
Networking with a friendly mindset, not with a business mindset.
I am not telling you to talk about your ex at a meeting, but I think there is a middle-ground. Here are my tips for you to network harmoniously and honestly:
When you go to a cocktail party, talk only to people you feel naturally attracted to.
Trying to have a conversation with someone you do not feel naturally attracted to is a loss of time. That person will feel it and it will be a disagreeable experience for both of you. Moreover, even if you end up talking about interesting things, chances are that this person feels the same way about you and will never contact you again ; they will simply be polite in responding to you.
Talk to the people who are more or less in the same place/rank in the workplace than you are.
If you start talking to the CEO of a big firm, chances are that you are going to feel very bad and “small”. Thus, you are going to try to be impressive, and that will probably lead you to being dishonest. When you talk with people who have the same work experience than you, on the contrary, you naturally act more honestly. You guys can talk about work in a free way, and the connections you create end up being far healthier… and better for you career.
Never forget that people can blossom, be kind to everyone, and ESPECIALLY to seemingly inoffensive people.
Why are the relations created with these people better for your career? Simply because:
- these persons can talk about you to a friend who has a friend who knows the CEO.
- these persons can know the CEO in person.
- these persons can become the next CEO.
- these persons are likely to become reliable allies, because the best business allies are usually people who started rather low but grew together, as a team. That type of network is priceless.
I hope that today’s post helped you see that networking does not have to imply using people. I would even say that, on the contrary, using people is rather counter-productive as someone you used once may become an enemy, and nobody wants more enemies, especially in the workplace. Moreover, please keep in mind that genuine and honest business-relationships based on equality and loyalty last much longer and are much more beneficial to your career in the long run.
Never fear networking again, it is a blessing, not a problem. ♡