7 rules of networking to level-up your career

Here is the thing! You need to network to find out about job opportunities to make yourself known to potential employers and to get on the radar of key people in your industry.

Soundcloud audio version available below - because I got you!

There are written and unwritten rules of networking including faux-pas to be avoided. This list right here will get you through whether you are early in your career, mid-way or figuring where you want to go next.

Rule 1: Be Proactive and put the word out

Applying for jobs online is not enough. Often-times someone in the network of those who have posted the job have an idea of who they may want to consider for the job. Whether this is fair or not, it is often the reality. So to breakthrough, you need to be proactive.

Yes, but how? Reach out to folks. Let everyone you know know that you are looking for a job. Networking is this really interesting thing - you literally never know which lead will result in a job. So put the word out through:

  • Informational interviews

  • Connecting with folks on LinkedIn

  • Connecting with people in your network

Rule 2: Be prepared

So you have put your word out and everybody you know is aware that you are looking for a job. What happens when folks start reaching out to you? They will ask for your resume. So be prepared with a clean up to date resume. Don't wait until they come knocking at your door for you to put your resume together. If someone asks you for your resume don't wait more than 24hrs before you send them your resume. Why? Most people are busy particularly those who may help you level-up your career. After 24hours they will have moved on to something else and may not even remember what you were asking about. Let not the delay be from your side of things.

Rule 3: Write the vision, make it plain

I have always kept a journal since I was about 12. One of the most powerful things I have found is the power of words both written and spoken. At some point in your career it is very common to be discouraged particularly when you're just starting out and climbing up the proverbial ladder seems like it is so hard. I am a strong believer in the law of attraction both figuratively and literally. Add your dream job to your vision board. Speak it into existence. Be specific about the type of company you want to work for, or better yet the type of company you would like to own and run. Be unafraid to chart paths that have never been taken before. Then put your voice behind your words. Faith comes by hearing so speak it into existence. And then put in the work.

Rule 4: Welcome constructive criticism

Don't just welcome it, seek it out and be open to constructive criticism both from friends, colleagues and those who have interviewed you in the past. While its hard to hear some truths, be open to it with the goal of growing or improving. Did you interview and not get the job, ask for a follow-up interview so they can help you improve on areas. I would not suggest taking feedback from every single person. Ask for constructive criticism from a mentor or someone in your circle who knows about your field. Ask them to give you honest feedback on how to strengthen your resume, what types of experience are missing from your resume. And then be willing to put that feedback into action. There is nothing more frustrating than giving someone constructive feedback which they don't take and then they come back to you to ask for the same feedback.

Rule 5: Know your worth

Looking for a job is a long and arduous process. Even networking when you have a job is an emotional rollercoaster. You will probably be turned down more than once and you need to develop a thick skin and not take it personally. Particularly in the current covid19 context where the economy is precarious and you are likely to hear more "no's" than yeses. Know your worth and know that you are worth it. Your worth is not determined by the outcome of your interviews. You are whole and you are complete and no job or career can define you. Take each experience as a learning opportunity and be grateful.

Rule 6: Practice gratitude

Adopt a lifestyle of gratitude as this will help you in your networking journey immensely. Be grateful for where you currently at. It may not be where you want to be but it certainly isn't where you used to be. Every time you network with someone, practice gratitude by sending them a thank you email. If you are an acquaintance send them a thank you text message to appreciate them for their time. Whenever leaving a job, send a thank you message to your team even if you are leaving in negative circumstances. Whenever you interview for a job whether it is formal or informal, send a thank you email for the person's time. You are getting the drift. Gratitude will give you peace but will also leave a positive impression on the other person.

Rule 7: Have faith and believe

This blog is called Faith Career and Motherhood because - it takes alot of faith to navigate the uncertainties. After you have done all of your part - commit the rest to God and have faith that it will work out. I left faith last because faith without works is dead. You have to put in the work. You have to lay the foundation, whether that's reaching out to folks, cleaning up your resume, going to school, having the right skill mix and competency mix. Once YOU have done all that, then leave it to the capable hands of God. Success is when opportunity meets preparation. Once you have done your preparation part, pray for the right opportunity to find you and when it does, I guarantee you will do great and success will be your portion.

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