The Underestimated Importance of Personal Networking

By Georgina Stewart

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Many people will underestimate the importance of their personal network and just how useful this can be when you are looking for a variety of different job opportunities. If you connect with your personal network in the right way you should find that you are inundated with possibilities. It’s becoming easier every day for you to utilise your social networks in order to create your very own personal network that will aid you in the future – so don’t underestimate your personal network, take advantage of it.


Connecting With Your Network

When you begin searching for your job the first thing that you should do is some standard networking. Standard networking usually involves contacting your close friends and your family in pursuit of a job – start by asking them if they know of any opportunities that are open.


Believe it or not, you can actually achieve quite a lot by making the most of the network that you have at hand; you may also discover that your network is larger than you realise as the average American has a network made up of around 634 contacts.


Most networks contain a variety of different people and this list will continue to expand as you gain more experience and meet new people. The majority of networks begin with close family and friends, before expanding to include other friends, colleagues, people that you used to work with and friends of your friends.


Branching Out – How to Make A Better Network

Sometimes your network may not be large enough or may not contain the right people – when this happens you could find that your network is next to useless when you are aiming to find a job. The best way for you to overcome this problem is to expand your personal network and invest a small portion of your time into ensuring the contacts that you do have are worth keeping in touch with.


There is an assortment of ways in which you can work to expand your network, some of these can be done by taking part in something as simple as an organised business event or by going to breakfast with a group of people that are looking to promote their business or opportunities that they hold.


Other methods of extending your network include taking part in job fairs where you can enquire about potential opportunities and positions that have been made available. Although, if something as informal as a job fair does not suit you and you would rather attend a structured meeting in which you can discuss specific job openings and requirements you could contact businesses within your area and enquire about positions available.


When you are discussing job roles or available positions with companies over the internet or in person you should use a respectful tone and answer any questions fully and honestly. If you follow these simple steps you will increase your chances of being taken seriously by asking the right questions and allowing your personality to shine through without being too casual.


Personal Networking – Using Social Channels

It’s unfortunate but true that not every individual within your network is going to see your potential and instantly give you a referral or a position within their company, due to this you may wish to look for opportunities through social networking.


Social networking can be very useful as it allows you to create an online persona, you can make yourself appear much more knowledgeable and refined than you may be able to come across in person. Although to give this refined and knowledgeable impression you have to work on your online presence – the first impression that you give is essential as it can make or break a potential employer’s decision.


The Taylor & Francis Group previously released a statement saying that it takes only 50 milliseconds to impress those that are looking at your social networking channel – as a consequence of this it can also take only 50 milliseconds to put off the people that you are trying to impress.


There are a variety of different ways in which you can make your social channels relevant to your job search and interesting enough to keep a potential employer from disregarding you – but if you’re not confident in your social channels I advise that you keep them private so that they cannot be used against you.


Georgina Stamp works in the interim management industry where she spends a great deal of her time analysing candidates for various job roles. She currently works for Marble Hill Partners who are specialists in executive search.

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