The second cardinal rule about levelling up your career is #networking. The first rule is relationship, relationship, relationship.
If you didn't know already, you need to be actively and passively building your professional network. I am sharing 5 reasons why:
1. To learn about opportunities
When a job is posted online, more often than not, folks within the network of those posting the job are aware of this opportunity. Sound unfair? Probably. Sound True? Definitely. Networking opens your eyes and ideas to opportunities as people are able to give you a heads-up of what is coming down the line so you can prepare for it. This is not to say that you cannot apply to a posting and get the job. I have applied several times to opportunities that I learned about online and have got the job. Networking through, give you insider information that you may otherwise not be aware of.
2. To learn about career paths
We are living in an age where traditional career paths are no longer the norm. Most people change fields 5 to 7 times in their career compared to 1-2 times previously. Through networking, you may learn about career paths that didn't previously exist or that have been curved out thanks to technology, virtual work, sub-domains that have developed in your field. There could be new niches that require your skill set and competencies or that can help you figure out what to study.
3. To shape your career path
At every stage of my career whether early, mid or present, networking has allowed me to learn about career paths. By talking to folks in various domains, I have gained exposure without necessarily working in those areas. I initially was interested in working with non-governmental organizations. After exchanging with folks in government, I realized that I was more interested in developing policies than implementing programs. Program experience was still valuable and I gained exposure to these things however ultimately networking shaped my path into government.
4. To learn more about an organization
Networking can help you learn more about an organization that you may be interested in working for. You can use networking to learn about the things not included in the website such as organizational culture - are they supportive of parents/working mothers, hierarchy, diversity and inclusivity, racism and anti-racism and many other aspects that would factor in your ultimate decision to work or not to work there. You don't have to have an interview lined up: you can do your research beforehand as this may influence whether or not you choose to apply there.
5.To put yourself out there
When you are ready to take your job search or career transition from passive to active, networking will help you put yourself out there. Like the post I shared on mentorship, you can start by networking within your circle and take it all the way out there. Networking is you saying to the world I am ready to be courted for job opportunities and I am open and available to explore possibilities.
Throughout the month of October, I will be sharing various aspects about #networking - active, passive, how to network, how NOT to network. Check out my events page to sign up for the Career Slay Mama virtual October Masterclass: Network Like A Boss.
Join me through this month. Also subscribe to the blog so you never miss a post!