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Mastering the Art of Networking: Building Bridges to Success


We have the privilege of inviting Laveen Jose to speak for us during our weekly think tank sessions. Laveen Jose is a Campus Recruitment Manager at GeoComply, a technology provider of fraud prevention and cyber security solutions. GeoComply is the market leader for geolocation compliance solutions. Previously, Laveen has worked as a Campus Talent Consultant at Grant Thornton LLP and as a Student Recruiter at CPA Ontario. In today's dynamic and interconnected world, networking has become an indispensable tool for personal and professional growth. As we embark on this journey to explore the intricate web of connections and opportunities, it is essential to understand the immense value of networking. This blog aims to shed light on the often-underestimated potential of networking, with a particular focus on the hidden job market. We will delve into the staggering statistics that reveal how a significant portion of job opportunities remains concealed from public job postings. By the end of this blog, you'll have a clear perspective on why networking is not just worthwhile but often the key to unlocking doors to your dream career.

 

Why is Networking Worthwhile?

Networking is not just a social activity; it's a strategic and transformative tool that can open up a world of opportunities in your personal and professional life. In this section, we'll explore the compelling reasons why networking is not just worthwhile but essential for your success.

The Hidden Job Market One of the most compelling reasons to invest in networking is the existence of the hidden job market. This concealed realm of job opportunities accounts for a substantial portion of available positions, and here's why:

  • 70% of Jobs are Not Advertised: Shockingly, nearly 70% of job openings are never publicly posted. This means that relying solely on traditional job search methods can cause you to miss out on a vast number of potential career prospects.

  • 80% of Jobs are Filled via Referrals (Networking): Even more striking, a whopping 80% of job placements happen through networking and referrals. It underscores the significance of personal connections and how they play a pivotal role in landing your dream job.

The Benefits of Networking Networking is not just about job hunting; it's about building relationships and expanding your horizons in various ways:

  • Idea Exchange: Networking provides a platform for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Engaging with diverse individuals in your field can lead to innovative insights and fresh perspectives that can benefit your career or business.

  • Exploring New Opportunities: Networking opens doors to new opportunities, whether it's exploring different career paths, starting a new business venture, or simply finding a mentor who can guide you on your journey.

  • Meeting Interesting People: Beyond career goals, networking allows you to meet fascinating people from different backgrounds. These connections can enrich your life and offer fresh perspectives that go beyond professional growth.


What Do Recruiters Look For?

Recruiters play a pivotal role in shaping the workforce of any organization, and understanding what they look for is critical to standing out in the competitive job market. Recruiters' preferences and biases can significantly influence hiring decisions. Here are some key points to consider:

  • "Status Quo" Bias: Recruiters often lean towards candidates who appear to fit the current company culture and structure. This bias can lead to a preference for candidates with experiences and backgrounds similar to existing employees. To overcome this bias, candidates should emphasize their unique qualities and the fresh perspectives they bring.

  • Conformity vs. Complementarity: Recruiters strive to balance the existing team's strengths and weaknesses. While they may seek candidates who can conform to the team's dynamics, they are equally interested in individuals who can complement and enhance the team's skills. This means that being a good cultural fit is essential, but demonstrating how you can add value and fill gaps is equally important.

In summary, understanding the recruiter's perspective is vital in tailoring your networking efforts and job application strategies. Overcoming "status quo" biases and demonstrating how you can complement the team can help you make a lasting impression during the hiring process.


Forms of Networking

Networking comes in various forms, each with its unique set of benefits and opportunities. Understanding these different forms can help you tailor your networking efforts to suit your goals and circumstances. Below, we'll explore these various networking avenues in more detail.

Operational Networking:

Operational networking primarily takes place within your workplace. This is where you connect with colleagues, supervisors, and other professionals in your organization. It's essential for career growth, knowledge exchange, and building strong internal relationships. Through operational networking, you can gain insights into your industry, share experiences, and collaborate on projects. It's a cornerstone of professional success in your current job and beyond.


Personal Networking:

Personal networking extends beyond the office and into your personal life. It involves connecting with people in your personal circles such as friends, family, and acquaintances. Additionally, it includes interactions with like-minded individuals you might meet in campus organizations, clubs, or during your daily commute. Personal networking is vital for personal growth and can lead to opportunities you might not encounter in the workplace. It can introduce you to different perspectives, hobbies, and even potential career paths.


Strategic Networking:

Strategic networking involves connecting with professionals in a more targeted and deliberate manner. This often occurs at industry events, conferences, and in places of interest relevant to your career. Strategic networking allows you to expand your professional horizons and make connections with those who can significantly impact your career. It's a key avenue for discovering new opportunities, gaining knowledge, and finding potential mentors or collaborators.


By understanding and utilizing these various forms of networking, you can create a robust and well-rounded network that caters to both your current needs and your long-term career aspirations. Each form of networking brings its unique set of connections and experiences, contributing to your personal and professional growth.


Networking Tips and Reach Out

Effective networking requires a strategic approach and a set of skills to make meaningful connections. The 10-Second Rule serves as a constant reminder that first impressions are crucial, and it's essential to make the most of those initial moments when meeting someone new.

To ensure your networking endeavours are successful, consider these top networking tips:

  • Active Listening: One of the most valuable skills in networking is active listening. Paying close attention to what others are saying, asking thoughtful questions, and showing genuine interest in their thoughts and experiences will leave a lasting positive impression.

  • Communication Skills: Strong communication skills are paramount for effective networking. Clear and concise communication, both in speaking and writing, helps convey your ideas and intentions with clarity.

  • Positive Energy: A positive and optimistic attitude can be infectious. Positivity not only draws people towards you but also makes the networking experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.

  • Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing your own emotions while being empathetic towards others' feelings is a key component of successful networking. Emotional intelligence allows you to navigate social situations more effectively and build stronger, lasting connections.

With these networking tips in mind, it's time to proactively reach out and make connections. Attend industry events, conferences, and seminars to meet like-minded professionals and expand your network. Join online communities related to your field of interest, where you can engage in discussions and exchange ideas with a broader audience. Seek out mentorship, whether through formal mentoring programs or by approaching experienced individuals who can guide you in your career journey. Furthermore, don't underestimate the power of informal settings like coffee breaks during conferences or casual social events, as these can often lead to unexpected and valuable connections.

 

In conclusion…

The art of networking is an indispensable tool in today's interconnected world, offering boundless opportunities for personal and professional growth. Through this exploration, we've highlighted the hidden job market's significance, revealed the traits recruiters value, and discussed various forms of networking, all underpinned by the importance of first impressions. To navigate the intricate landscape of networking effectively, we've shared top tips, emphasizing the significance of active listening, strong communication skills, a positive demeanor, and emotional intelligence. The journey doesn't end here; it continues with your active engagement in industry events, online communities, mentorship opportunities, and even casual settings. By embracing the power of networking, you'll unlock a world of possibilities, building meaningful connections that can shape your future and open doors to new horizons. So, go forth, connect, and seize the opportunities that await you in this dynamic world of networking.






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