Did you know that 85% of all jobs are filled through networking? Networking may just be the most critical part of job searching in today’s society. It is all about whom you know and who knows you. Since the percentage of positions filled through networking is high, having a broad network can benefit people seeking jobs and recruiters. Instead of heading to the beach for my last ever Spring Break, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley to NETWORK with successful Western Michigan University Alumni. The biggest concept that was mentioned by all the alumni was to always connect and stay connected. Meaning once you create that relationship, keep in touch with small talk through LinkedIn or email. It will not work in your favor if you reach out to a connection after not talking for quite some time. This is one mistake I see many students making! It will seem like you want something from that person…a job. A small, meaningful message now and then will keep you in the loop. Then the time will come for a new job, and it may come sooner than you think. One day that person you might have come across with could end up being the next CEO of Google, Amazon, or even a new start-up.
I came across a post about Mark Zuckerberg inviting five friends to meet up with him about his Facebook idea. Out of the five friends that were invited only two showed up. Those two people today have a combined net worth of 25 billion dollars. When someone asks you to listen about an opportunity, be all ears! You never know where an opportunity can take you and the lessons you can learn that will leave a lasting impact on your future!
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.” – Richard Branson
There are so many different networking events that you can attend in your area. Some of the websites that were suggested from the alumni were Meetup, Bumble BFF, Shapr, and Facebook groups. These are all great ways to not only meet new people but to learn something and get involved. The best piece of advice at these networking events is to always come prepared. The personal marketing tools that are the most effective at the events are business cards and most importantly an updated LinkedIn.
If you are someone that is attending these events looking for a job, try to ask questions about the company, a lot of questions. The possibilities that could come out of it are endless. The person may say, “actually, my firm is hiring for XYZ.” However, do remember that not everyone that attends these events are not looking for a job. A good amount of attendees are just looking to build their network. Being aware of these organized networking events can give a future networker, such as yourself, something to look forward too.