Whether you’re sitting atop the corporate ladder or a teenager looking for your first job, career networking is vital. In fact, it’s one of the top business skills you should develop. Because having strong professional connections often makes finding the right job possible. In fact, HubSpot estimates that around 85% of jobs are filled through networking. And moreover, CNBC tells that some 70% of job openings never publish for the public. But beyond the job search, personal connections also make it easier to get helpful advice and information whenever necessary. So, career networking isn’t something that starts and ends with job searching. Much to the contrary, it should last an entire professional career.
Finding the Right Job Can Be Difficult
Of course, when it comes to finding a job, there are many variables one must take into account. Especially when talking about the difficulty of landing the perfect opportunity. For instance, industry obviously plays a large role, as do job requirements, location, and a host of other factors. If you’re applying for a highly-skilled position, there may not be as much competition. However, the requirements could be much more strenuous than other career paths. Furthermore, living in a big city means there are more positions to fill. But there are probably many more applicants to choose from. So, because of the numerous variables, it’s difficult to say across the board how difficult job searching can be.
However, speaking in general terms, around 118 people apply for one position on average. And 2022 predictions state job-seekers will need to fill out somewhere between 20 and 80 applications before getting an offer. So, even in a general sense, landing a job through the typical application process is stressful. It can be immensely time-consuming for relatively little reward. And even once you secure a job, it might not end up a great fit. But this is where career networking comes in. Because finding the right position is just as important as finding one at all. After all, dissatisfaction in the workplace can lead to increased anxiety, which negatively impacts physical health and mental wellbeing.
Career Networking Can Bypass the Application Process
The benefit of career networking here is that it carries the potential to eliminate the burdensome application process. At least, in the sense of having to fill out dozens of forms, most which will be rejected. Instead, when you build strong professional connections, those contacts have the benefit of knowing your abilities beforehand. Or if not abilities, then other characteristics that might make you a good fit for an open position. This isn’t to say hiring managers you’ve connected with will approach you for a job offer outright. But sometimes, this does happen when they have a sense of your overall work ethic, career history and skills. Essentially, this means career networking can help alert you to opportunity rather than having to find it on your own.
But even when hiring managers don’t directly approach you with an opportunity, career networking plays a part. Because if you still have to apply, the personal connection affords a greater chance of success. Even when the network contact isn’t the one doing the hiring. Because managers will often take into account the suggestions and appeals of existing employees. So, simply connecting with someone at a particular organization can help secure a job. And this brings up an entirely different benefit.
Career networking makes it possible to connect with individuals in a wide range of industries and positions. And of course, this also means greater opportunity in a larger market. For example, if you’re an accountant, your skills could easily be needed in any industry. So, connecting with individuals in nonprofits or other industries might be as helpful as with those in massive corporations.
Building Connections is a Skill
Essentially, the very act of career networking is a skill in and of itself. It shows a propensity toward communication and personability that not all individuals have. And to an extent, these core talents are what some employers look for. Because the ability to fit well with a team and learn is sometimes more important than having the right skillset. Of course, for highly-skilled positions, this wouldn’t likely be the case. But investing time and energy into networking demonstrates the kind of tenacity many employers hope for in applicants. So, even if your contacts don’t directly lead to any job offerings, career networking can be beneficial.
Career Networking After Finding the Job
Apart from the actual job search and application process, career networking can help keep you informed and up-to-date. Because having contacts in different roles and industries allows you to know what’s happening in different markets. Moreover, having close connections with others in your own industry ensures a better chance to stay knowledgeable. And perhaps more importantly, a connected web of professionals can solve problems more easily. If one person has a problem, they can easily turn to another who might have a different view. And often, fresh insight is exactly what’s needed to help resolve an issue or problem. So, keeping up with other contacts is as essential after finding a job as when beginning the search.
Article written by Braden Norwood
Last updated March 15, 2023