We’ve all heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.
When it comes to getting ahead in your career, we know that’s not entirely true because clearly you need to have the knowledge, skills and aptitude for the job – regardless of who helped you get there.
That said, who you know is also part of the mix. As the Harvard Business Review points out, there is a ton of research that shows networking is not a nice to have, it’s a necessity – leading to more job opportunities, increased knowledge, faster advancement etc.
This suggests that it is worth overcoming any aversion you may have to networking if you are serious about your career advancement.
You can ask Google for tips on networking and you’ll find myriad 'how to' lists. But as a career coach who sees people every week who want to change jobs, there’s one more tip I would add:
If your reason for networking is to expand your job opportunities, then know what you are looking for.
Particularly if you are changing direction in your career. It’s not enough to tell people you are looking to do something new or different – that won’t give them enough to go on.
If you are going to the trouble of building a large network of influential people, and if you have loyal friends and advocates willing to support you in your career, you need to make it easy for them to help you by being clear about where you are heading.
Because if they have no clue what you are looking to do, it will be difficult for them to spot opportunities for you, or put in a good word for you with their peers and networks.
Are you clear about your need to change jobs, but unclear about your next move? Career coaching can help you get that clarity, so you can make it easy for your networks to help you make the move. Get in touch.
About the author: Lucy Sanderson-Gammon, MBA, is a Wellington-based career coach helping mid-career professionals who have fallen out of love with their jobs to find meaningful work. She also provides career development for those who want to get ahead at work or make a transition after redundancy. Find out more about Lucy's coaching services here.