In recent posts, I have focused quite a bit on career change and on some of the more important aspects which can make your career change a success. Networking is one of the keys to a successful career change.
So, what is networking?
And, why is it important? At the very basic level, networking is the method by which a person establishes and builds relationships with potential clients and business contacts.
One of the common misconceptions surrounding networking is that it is simply the act of meeting many people and then handing out as many business cards as possible. However, the reality of networking is that it is actually more about identifying the right people to add to your network and cultivating ongoing relationships. In essence, it is deciding who out of every person you meet and interact with is actually best suited.
Most people network because they want to find and build new and even better business revenue streams. These revenue streams can be found in the forms of new clients, referrals, and in introductions. And, in order for networking to actually work, the relationship formed must be symbiotic: you refer business to your contact and your contact refers business to you.
So how does this relate to career change?
Symbiotic relationships are at the very heart of the career change process. You want to form and maintain mutually beneficial relationships throughout your career. These give and take relationships may end up getting you an “in” with a prospective employer.
If you are tapping into your network properly, members of your network will all know you are:
- Planning on making a career change
- Researching careers related to a new industry
- Hoping to speak with individuals who already have your ideal job
- Working on educational and certification requirements related to the profession
- Volunteering or freelancing in a role related to the industry and the job you actually want
Hopefully members of your network will be able to make introductions with the right people. If that is the case, you will have an “in” and will be more likely to be invited in for an informational interview if you request one. And, if you are invited in for an informational interview, you will be able to add another member to your network. Yes – you do want to stay in contact with your informational interviewer.
One of the cardinal rules of networking is to reciprocate. So, it is important that you remember that networking is a give and take. Be sure to stay in contact with members of your network. Send them relevant clippings, quotes, or reports – whatever works best for you. The point is that you have to keep your relationships going.
Networking is a great way to help you through the career change process. Be sure to build great relationships and maintain them to ensure your success.