Network It!

By: kelliew

The clichéd phrase ‘It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know’ is as old and overused as the day is long. But it’s clichéd for a reason. No man is an island, to coin another oft used maxim, and whatever our experience or skill set, we need others to help us along the way.

But it needn’t be a case of a human ladder with a huge dose of nepotism. Think of others as a support network, not dissimilar to what you might have in your personal life. Very few of us could live without a network of family and friends out of work hours. Your career should be no different.

The benefits of a professional network are huge especially for those already in management positions or director jobs. In the 21st century it’s important to cultivate a close, likeminded group of individuals to whom we can turn for a myriad of uses, and return the favour.

In this climate, we are all bound to know someone, who has lost CEO jobs or banking jobs in the given the economy. It’s statistically harder to find work whilst unemployed, than it is whilst you are working away merrily without even looking for that next career move. It’s down to our proximity to others.

Professional networks are also a mutual support mechanism for the industry. Job hunting becomes a lot easier, and much better targeted, through a dedicated industry group than through the non specialized agencies. If there isn’t already a local professional networking group for your industry you can attend in person, there certainly will be online, via Linkedin.Com or even Twitter.

In some industries, professional contacts on the personal level may be the only way of getting and assessing up to date and relevant career information. Reading a job ad and getting the direct background from a friend isn’t the same thing. Your friend will also add some quality to the information, and you can be better informed than by reading something on paper.

It all sounds a bit ‘masonry’ and secret handshake like, doesn’t it? But basically having a strong network will help you in many ways during your day to day career progression. It will help you get things done, because more often than not, you’ll know exactly who to call or whose ear to bend when you need something, or even better, you can sort it yourself because you’ve learnt so much from your new pals and their experience and knowledge.

A recent (2009) survey has suggested that just over 50% of those polled had achieved their latest position via some level of networking, as opposed to using recruiters or job boards.

The advent of Web 2.0 means there are even more, lazier ways to network than ever before. What’s your professional networking strategy? If you haven’t got one, get one!

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Kellie Whitehead writes job related content for CareerIntelligence.Com CEO & Director Jobs, largest source of 100k executive jobs and management careers in the Middle East and Gulf Regions.

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