There is no doubt about the
importance and effectiveness of networking in your career search. Networking, both online and in person,
provides you the opportunity to present yourself and your career objective in a
much more personal way.
Networking is essentially active personal
branding, which can be defined as the process of:
- Identifying the unique and differentiating value that you can bring to
an organization, team and/or project.
- Communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in
all of your actions and outputs, both online and offline, to all current and
prospective stakeholders in your career.
Many experts have said that when it comes to
job search networking, “It’s not what you
know, it’s who you know.” However, I couldn’t disagree more.
First of all, what you know is part of the
value that you bring to the table (a.k.a. your personal brand) and therefore, it
is of the utmost importance in your networking efforts.
Second and more importantly, it’s not who you
know, it’s who knows you, or better yet, who knows your personal brand enough
to reach out to you with an opportunity where they know you and your brand
would contribute the most value.
You may know a lot of influential people, but
do they think of you when an opportunity arises? No matter how outstanding a candidate you may be, networking
really comes down to getting your personal brand out there in front of your
career stakeholders and communicating what you have to offer in a memorable and
So, what are some easy ways to network your
personal brand out in front of others?
- Make sure your personal brand aligns with the personal strengths that
your family and closest friends associate with you and when appropriate, tell
them about your personal brand and your career objectives. They may be your greatest champions, so
help them help you.
- Leverage Facebook, LinkedIn and your email rolodex to keep in contact
with classmates, colleagues and other contacts from your past. They have obviously seen you “in
action” at various points in your life and career and may identify you for
opportunities if you stay on their radar.
- Search for professionals in your target companies, industries or
functional areas using LinkedIn and other networks and reach out to schedule
informational interviews. These
are great ways to make more personal connections with potential career
stakeholders and provide you relevant contacts with whom to keep in touch.
- Participate in relevant online forums, as well as in LinkedIn Groups and
LinkedIn Answers. This will not
only help you establish your expertise and personal brand in front of other
target professionals, but also allows you to network and develop rewarding
- Attend various events hosted by your professional organizations, your school,
your alumni association, your church, etc. in order to physically interact with
potential career contacts. Make
sure to get your contacts’ business cards or information so you can follow up
with them in the future.
There are many more ways you can get your
personal brand out there in front of others, from introducing yourself to your
neighbors to talking to someone sitting next to you on the subway or on a
In the end, networking really falls on how
well you have branded yourself to those whom you have identified as potential
stakeholders in your career. Therefore, remember that in your career search efforts, and happy
About Chris Perry:
Chris Perry is a
Gen Y Brand and Marketing Generator, a Career Search and Personal Branding
Expert and the Founder of Career Rocketeer, the Career Search and Personal Branding Blog.