After attending my first networking event, “Building Brilliance” at the National Arts Centre I had the opportunity to meet professionals in the field of public relations and learn how to start expanding my own network as well. As a Career Coach, I reflected on what that term actually means.
Networking is the process of discovering, developing, utilizing, and maintaining quality connections between people. It is something that all of us already do successfully whether it be personally or professionally. Put simply it is the art of building relationships through talking to people and can also be used to help determine the right “fit” for you. For example, if you want to be in the architecture field, you can connect with an architect through networking to gain insights into the field. Every person that you introduce yourself to has the power to lead you to others, and before you know it, you have created a personal list of connections.
Information you may be looking for could cover topics such as the market conditions in your desired industry, what career paths individuals with similar academic backgrounds have taken and/or what opportunities exist in a given organization. Furthermore, these events are a great way for you to tap into the hidden job market.
On average, only 20% of jobs are posted online, while the remaining 80% are obtained through networking. This 80% of jobs is called the hidden job market.
When to Network? Given the time it takes to strategically connect with individuals, it’s important to network while in university. Networking is best done when you are not under pressure to secure employment as soon as possible. University is the optimal time, since you are (hopefully) studying a subject that you wish to eventually pursue a career in. Even chatting with professors can be considered networking, since they presumably have valuable insight into their field of study.
Campus Networking Ideas:
- Talking to your professors
- Clubs or societies
- Networking nights
- Employer Recruiting Events
- Career/Job Fairs
The art of networking: Think about building a relationship with the person. Show them that you are interested in them, their line of work, and their company. Your investment in this now could pay off later. And remember networking is not shameless self-promotion where you brag about yourself and your accomplishments in order to get a job. Avoid immediately asking, “Are you hiring?” By asking for a job right away can give the impression that you are only interested in employment rather than getting to know the individual, and prematurely end the exchange of information. Instead, consider how you can contribute to the other person’s career. Think about what it is that you personally have to offer. Hopefully this will create a relationship which you can rely on for both current and future career opportunities. Even if there are no current opportunities, you never know what will become available in the future.
For more networking tips, check out:
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