An estimated 85% of jobs are filled through networking, according to a survey by consultant Lou Adler and LinkedIn. What’s more, jobs obtained through networking tend to be higher-quality, higher-paying jobs that last longer, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And that same survey concluded that people who are well networked tend to advance more quickly in their careers.
Unfortunately, we don’t hear the importance of networking being discussed in high school or even college. A well connected network is what gets you jobs and not only a degree certificate. I always recommend students to connect with the alumni of the college, be in contact with the academic staff at the college and build well meaning relationships while gaining education.
To define, networking, it’s the process of speaking to and sharing information with professional contacts who in turn can give you more exposure and more opportunity to help progress in your career.
If you are in high school or college, this is the right time to start networking.
Here are few benefits of networking
Make industry connections: Networking is all about building trust and sharing knowledge. So, build relationship with your school and college alumni, find out where they are working and learn from their professional experience. It is also the first step you can take in building connections within the industry.
Get career advice: An important benefit of networking is the ability to take advice from experienced peers in the industry. You can discuss common challenges and current opportunities available, discuss what subjects they studied before university or what extracurricular activities they take part in to boost their CV/resume.
Grow in your career: Networking with industry experts can make you visible and help you to advance in your career.
Get new ideas and perspectives: Networking with peers, building connections and exploring their contacts and resources can help you when looking for fresh perspectives and ideas for a project or an assignment.
Get better job opportunities: By meeting new people, it’s likely that you’ll be meeting more people with knowledge of available vacancies or recruiters who are looking for talented individuals interested in your stream of work.
Learn about latest industry developments: The larger your network, the more access you will have to valuable information and learn about industry developments.
Helps build confidence: Every time you network and meet new people, you gain confidence as you are building your communication skills as well in this process.
Builds lifelong friendships: Although the purpose of networking is to build professional relationships, but some of the most strongest friendships can be formed from work related connections. It is my personal experience too. I have made so many wonderful friends through blogging. They encouraged me, referred me and supported me when I was re-starting my professional career as a career counsellor after a 13 year sabbatical.
Growth in status: Developing your career status is a long-term process depending on how you focus on your networking path. Top career individuals that are where they are today is a result of the status they have grown in networking.
How can high school and college students start networking
- Join clubs or classes
- Ask school alumni to meet up over coffee to discuss their career choices
- Practice networking by starting smaller by having a career conversation with just one or two people, such as a new roommate, a classmate you haven’t spoken to before, a professor who teaches a class you’re interested in or are taking, or even a cold email or LinkedIn message to a professional in your field.
- Visit your campus career centre
- Develop social media presence
The sooner you start networking, better the chances of meeting someone who can help you with your job search later on. So, if you are shy start with building online connections and then plan a face to face meeting. But start.
I hope these tips helps and do drop a comment to share your networking experiences with me too.