In a world where everything can be done with the click of a button, has networking become a thing of the past? If anything the opposite is true.
Harvey Coleman in his book “Empowering Yourself, The Organizational Game Revealed” writes that career success is based on three elements: performance, image and exposure (PIE). Performance, how good you are at your job only accounts for 10% of career success. Image, how people view you accounts for another 30%. Exposure is by far the most important component, making up the remaining 60%.
People need to know you exit, what you’ve done and why it matters. Raising your visibility and influencing how people think about you can sway critical 50/50 promotion decisions in your favour, shape the quality of assignments you’re offered and determine if you’re chosen for fast track leadership programmes.
Gateway to a hidden marketplace
Putting regular time aside to network will reap dividends in an era where technology is routinely disrupting entire sectors and eroding job security. Being networked and staying in contact with a diverse range of people will help keep you abreast of changes and will allow you react with speed and agility if your role comes to an abrupt end. This becomes even more important as you advance in your career where up to 80 % of senior level roles are filled through referrals and word of mouth. Your network will be the gateway to this hidden marketplace.
Most clients I work with feel uncomfortable tapping into their network to access job opportunities. Reframing these approaches as information gathering exercises can be useful, allowing you to approach your contacts with ease. A nice way of starting a conversation can be to ask for advice – perhaps asking them to share insights into a particular sector or asking what challenges they think the sector’s facing. At the end of the conversation, be ready to ask them for the names of other people you could speak to – creating a virtuous circle and momentum in growing your network.
The power of LinkedIn
Building your on line presence will help raise your visibility and get you noticed. Linkedin is one of the largest professional networks and is used as a data base by search firms to access the best global talent. To get noticed in this crowded space, craft your profile carefully to ensure you capture the attention of potential recruiters and employers. Posting interesting and relevant content on a regular basis will also raise your profile and showcase your expertise.
The importance of networking internally
Delivering strong results, requires working effectively through other people. Michael Watkins in his book “First 90 Days” highlights the importance of identifying stakeholders and influencers who are critical to your success and to immediately set about building productive relationship with them. Placing a priority on building a strong network in your first few months will help secure early wins, cement your reputation and create the momentum to create sustained success.
Remember when it comes to hiring and succession planning – if the leadership team don’t know anything about you, they’re much more likely to overlook you.
So the next time you feel your hard work isn’t being recognised, ask yourself where you’re spending your time and energy and how well this is serving you.
About the author
Laura is a qualified executive coach, EMCC Certified with over 20 years’ experience in executive search and recruitment. For a consultation, please call 087 669 1192 or go to www.isoar.ie