By Perminus Wainaina
This is a term you will rarely hear in a professional setup.
Relationships, however, have a part to play when it comes to your career growth and success.
Anthony, during our one on one career coaching session, expressed his frustration of not getting a job for the last two years.
“I always receive job alerts, and when I think I’m qualified, I apply to the job. Unfortunately, out of the dozens of job applications I have made in the last two years, I have only been invited to three interviews.” says Anthony.
When I asked him why he thinks he doesn’t get shortlisted, he confidently replied, “Nowadays if you don’t have a godfather somewhere, it’s not easy even to secure an interview.”
Is Anthony right?
Do you need a godfather to help you secure a job?
A godfather is someone who holds a position of influence and can open doors for you.
Unfortunately, we may not all have connections to the top managers and CEOs of these organizations. So does that mean all is lost?
If Anthony is correct, unless you have a godfather, you’ll never get the job you want.
The reality is, almost half of the available jobs are never advertised. While you may come across multiple jobs on various platforms, these account for half of all available jobs.
When I told this to Anthony, he asked with a puzzled face, “So how are these unadvertised jobs filled?”
One word; Relationships!
The professional relationships you cultivate are what will help you get these unadvertised jobs.
“I have friends who have jobs, but that has never helped me get a job. What can I do differently?” asks Anthony.
During the career coaching session, I advised Anthony to network with professionals who can help him get a job and grow his career.
After the session, Anthony promised to do what we had discussed, and in three weeks, he had been invited to two interviews, and finally, after years of searching, he landed a great job.
Seeing the impact the advice had on Anthony’s career, I thought of sharing these tips with you, that you too, may grow your career.
Here are 3 tips to help you network with professionals who will help you grow your career.
1. Identify your existing network
Anthony mentioned he has friends who are currently working. He also mentioned he hasn’t benefited from them.
I asked him how many of these friends know what he does and that he was looking for a job.
He took a few moments, then mentioned three friends.
Out of his network, only three knew he was looking for a job.
Before you can network out there, first utilize your existing network. Then, work on cultivating a relationship with this network.
If you know a professional who can help you out, engage them, buy them coffee and check up on them.
When a position opens up, they’ll let you know about it.
Who in your existing network can help you grow your career?
2. Separate your networks
There are two major types of networks, professional and personal networks.
Your personal network largely includes your friends and the people you interact with out of work. Your professional network, on the other hand, is the group of people who can directly help your career.
In the previous point, we’ve looked at utilizing your current network. As time advances, however, you should separate these two.
While each network serves you a purpose, few people should be in both categories.
For your professional network, focus on building and solidifying your relationship.
For example, if you’re attending a training and you know someone in your professional network that can benefit from the training, ask them to join you. If you’ve seen a job or article that can help them grow, forward it to them.
If you cultivate this relationship, they will likely do the same. They’ll inform you about the opportunities that are never advertised.
3. Identify the style that works for you
There are multiple ways to network. You can use digital platforms such as LinkedIn, you can attend networking events, workshops, conferences, or you can even start a conversation with a professional in the elevator.
Everyone has a style that appeals to them. For instance, there are networking events that are just an open forum. There are others where you’re allocated a networking partner for a given time.
What works best for you? Once you have identified this, work on growing your networking skills such as communication.
How effective are you at communicating? If you have trouble communicating with others or delivering your points in an impactful way, then consider building your communication skills.
What networking style is effective for you?
After I shared these tips with Anthony during the one on one career coaching session, he implemented them, and soon after, got a job.
Ultimately, the relationships you create are what will determine if you get that dream job or not, or if you land that promotion or not. While you don’t need a godfather to open doors for you, you still need to create meaningful professional relationships through networking.
Do you want to meet with me for a personalized and in-depth career coaching session? Click here and we’ll plan when to meet and see how to grow your career.
Perminus Wainaina is the C.E.O and Managing Partner at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading HR consultancy firm based in Westlands. Through personalized career coaching he assists mid-level and senior professionals get solutions to complex and challenging career issues that they are facing. Click here for more on career coaching.