Why business networking?

business networking beiber

Even the most talentless among us can make it if they know the right people.

It’s often said, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This is especially true when trying to get a job. Even with the most kick-ass resume or portfolio, companies tend to go for who they know over a highly-skilled or more experienced stranger.

Unfair? Maybe. But in the words of Tupac, “that’s just the way it is” and to excel in the job market, you should learn how to exploit this bias and use it to your advantage. How? Two words: business networking.

What is business networking?

It’s a pretty thorny piece of corporate jargon but all it means is getting to know people and making sure those people know you. That’s it.

You can, of course, network for all sort of reasons, not only for getting a job. For instance,  having a broad network makes it easier for sales people to get leads or for aspiring authors to find a publisher.

In getting a job, knowing someone already working in a desirable company gives you a shoe-in. That person is able to introduce you to people in the department you’d like to work in or even to the person who’ll be interviewing you.

The psychological principle of familiarity dictates that people are unconsciously more attracted to things and people they’re more familiar with.

Tips for business networking

  1. Start in your circles: It seems fairly self-explanatory but people often undervalue their existing networks. Think about your friends, family, classmates, neighbours, past colleagues. According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, an average person can maintain up to 100-250 social connections at one time. Then there’re connections from those connections and so on. The people you’re in contact with exponentially grows the more you tap into your existing networks.
  2. Go out more: This sounds counter-intuitive when trying to find a job but it’s more likely that you’re going to get a tenable job lead out at a party than at home on the internet. Speak to people, ask them if they know of any jobs going in your particular field. You’ll find people are more helpful than you think. More broadly, not just when looking for a job, parties and drinking nights personalise professional bonds and are a great way to meet new people.
  3. Memory matters: This is just a general social skill but remembering names, faces and personal details is paramount to building a strong professional network. People thrive on recognition and you remembering their name after only meeting them once is an instant tick in anyone’s books. Remembering the names of their children/pets or what they did last weekend may sound creepy but people appreciate you paying attention to what they say. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter.
  4. Social media: In the cyber/information age, we’d be remiss not to mention social media. A way to find and be found by people outside of your immediate social circles, it’s a brilliant way to put yourself out there and find people in your field that could further your professional goals. It’s not bound by geography so check your inbox, you may get a job offer from Hong Kong or France. Who knows? For more info about using social media professionally, check out this post.

That’s it from us. Stay cool and good luck!

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