Networking For Sustained Success
It’s Not Only About Networking Events!
Let’s be honest…when many of us hear the word Networking, we think about those events that are actually called ‘Networking Events’. Many of us have come to think that those events are in total, what Networking is all about. Further, many of the events women attend are Women’s Networking events, and while that’s valuable in so many ways there is much more to go after in the realm of networking.
To Be Clear: Networking goes far outside of Networking Events!
First – Let’s talk about why people network…
We network to share insights, to make connections, to grow a business, to learn from others, to get ahead in business, and help others do the same (Should expand this further).
Two major mis-steps when it comes to Networking:
Where to network: Networking comes in many forms, and unfortunately, many people think it’s singular to networking events hosted by various associations. Remember – that’s just a slice of all the networking opportunities, and if you want to drive your career to be successful today and into the future, networking through as many channels as possible is necessary, and can be a lot of fun.
When to Network: Let’s face it…we are all busy, right? Who has time to network when you have a job, family, etc…. So, unfortunately many don’t network until they have a need… Like starting a business, lost a job, etc. You can guess why this is not a good idea….because you have to build the network before you can leverage it!. Some of the most successful people are continuously building a network, and continuously using that network for not just what they need in a moment, but helping others as well. It’s like money in the bank, or like a pay it forward play.
Where to Network: EVERYWHERE
- Association invites – think outside the box!; In addition to attending what seems like your space, consider areas outside of your area to broaden your network. For me, when I attend the tech events, even those held by different associations, I run into the same circle of people (all very good but I’m not expanding my network. I recently joined an association not related to my field and have found that my network expanded significantly in a new and exciting direction. Community, other fields, …lunch clubs, etc
- Recruiters; ALWAYS pick up the phone or engage in an email, or linked in message from recruiters. Make a point to talk with them, like on the phone, even if you are not interested in the role!
- On Social Media
- Linked In – look for connections of your connections and reach out. Send a note with the connect request and ask for 1:1’s meetings as part of a network effort….you would be surprised how many people are willing to meet with you.
- Vendors – Answer and find out what else they do, who they know, common connections…even if you are not in the market for their service/product…. Connect them to other women in your network.
- In your own company – get mentors / coaches
When to Network: ALWAYS
- You should network all channels as much as you can. Carve out a couple of hours of your work week….just for networking.
- Pop Quiz: Just landed a new job and a recruiter calls with a new opportunity. -do you take time to talk with them? YES. Two reasons…they get to know you and keep you in mind for a future role and two….VERY important….you hear what they are looking for a recommend a women in your network that would be a good fit.
Men versus women
In Networking what you do, is as important as what you don’t do.
Let’s make this simple:
Always be on the lookout for opportunity:
- Invited Whether you’ve been out there all this time, or are just getting out there…
Story 2: As someone that has lead organizations and have partnered with HR, staffing agencies and retained search companies to hire hundreds of professions in the past 25 years, I have noticed something that is telling about how differently men and women operate with respect to their careers. I drive for diverse workforce, and in terms of gender diversity, recruiters have shared with me when on the hunt for a candidate, that many of the calls into women professionals are often not returned.