But she is on to something.
Not only is networking here to stay, it is arguably one of the most, if not the most important skill to be successful in a job search. These days, submitting a resume and cover letter to an online job posting is pretty much the equivalent of uploading those documents to a deep, black hole. Recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with an average of 200 applications per job posted. And the “Hidden Job Market” is stronger than ever, with almost 50% of hiring happening via internal referrals and networking where hiring managers seek to find the best candidates via trusted recommendations – instead of posting their job opening to the masses.
You may not aim to network with a new person every week this year, but how about make a goal to develop the skill of networking. You might find that you’re a natural, or that with practice and a plan it becomes easier. Here are 5 ways to network like the pros and turn it into a worthwhile – even enjoyable – pursuit.
1. Change your perspective.
If networking seems daunting to you, you’re not alone. I meet with many clients and MBA students who have very impressive resumes, yet they don’t feel comfortable “asking for something.” It feels unnatural, they aren’t “schmoozers,” and they feel awkward talking about themselves.
If this describes you, the first step is to change your perspective.
Stop thinking about it as asking for something/all-about-you and start thinking about it as meeting new people, learning from them, and making a good impression. You might build a connection with someone who ultimately refers you for an open position, or passes your resume onto a colleague or friend who is hiring. By expanding your network, you are positioning yourself for a successful job search – one where you will build advocates, research opportunities, and find mentors.
And remember, networking is not (and shouldn't be) about asking for a job, so no need to put that kind of pressure on yourself. Mostly, it’s about making conversation and relating to people – people who may be able to grow into advocates or help connect you to other helpful people who can be good resources.