Networking to Develop Your Career
By Wayne Pagani.
Relationship building is the primary ingredient to an effective approach to networking. SO, let’s look at why networking is such an effective strategy for developing your career.
Why does networking work? Well, it only works if you work it, to start with, and is mostly true when done from the standpoint of building deeper and more valuable relationships. Part of being human, I guess, we naturally gravitate to others and especially those who are like minded. Almost everyone has exclaimed “what a small world it is” when discovering mutual alliances.
Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist who conducted the small-world experiment (this ultimately became the source of the six degrees of separation concept) as part of his dissertation while at Harvard.
The small world experiment comprised several experiments conducted by Stanley Milgram and other researchers examining the average path length for social networks of people in the United States. The research was ground-breaking in that it suggested that human society is a small world type network characterized by short path lengths. The experiments are often associated with the phrase “six degrees of separation”, although Milgram did not use this term himself.
Want networking to work for you? Start with the action items below.
- Assess your Networking Quotient (NQ).
- Set up meetings, engage at events, and follow through on your objectives.
- Market research – look at networking as an opportunity to start looking for those organizations with a need that fits your value proposition.
- Build Community: look for ways to participate in and contribute to your community.
- Find other resources and newsletters to fuel your desire to improve your ability for relationship building. Apply the principles that you learn from different resources.
- Look for venues and opportunities to practice. Environments that are supportive and where you can fine tune your skills. Meet-up and Event Brite are just a couple of possible resources to locate places near you where people gather. Social media can open the door as well.
- Get oriented to networking. This is critical in a job search, especially for those who either lack the skills, the awareness, or feel intimidated by networking.
- Get organized: align your networking activities with your career transition objectives. Get to know the market better, identify clear targets by listing the companies you want to work with, understand the needs of those employers, get to meet people in influential and decision making roles.