Remove Obstacles to Leverage Your Professional Network

By Michele Richardson

CTU Career Advice - Remove ObstaclesDid you know that 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking? What’s more, most open positions are never shared publicly, but rather discovered through referrals between colleagues, friends and family members. That’s pretty compelling evidence when it comes to the power of networking. Your connections matter.

Even so, many people shy away from networking for a variety of reasons, from “I don’t have time,” to “I’m not comfortable approaching people.” Networking is a lot like exercise. You know it’s good for you, but it’s a whole lot easier to come up with excuses not to do it.

There is good news in all this: you’re probably already networking and don’t even realize it. That’s because professional and social networking is really about forming relationships, and chances are you’re doing that on a daily basis. Networking happens when you connect with others – a casual conversation with a stranger on the airplane, a reply to a thought leader on Twitter, or anything in between that involves the connection between two or more people.

The two obstacles that get in the way of you leveraging the power of your network are perception and intention.

How do you perceive networking? If you think of networking as a chore, a hassle or something you “have to do,” then you won’t be motivated to do it. Try changing your point of view. See networking as a natural part of your day, as natural as brushing your teeth every morning. Imagine the opportunities that may arise if you make one connection a day, even if it’s just to send a quick LinkedIn message to a colleague congratulating him on a recent job change.

What is your intention? Like any other professional activity, you must have a vision or goal around networking. Otherwise, it’s a haphazard activity that produces few results. Think about what you want to accomplish through professional networking. This will be different for everyone. You might be actively searching for a job opportunity. Or maybe you’re just looking to connect with more seasoned professionals in your industry for mentoring. Be clear about what you want, and then be intentional about the specific networking strategies that will help in reaching your goals.

Networking is a vital tool for your career success. Learn more about the Power of Networking in CTU’s new eBook: download it now.

CTU Career Advice - Michele RichardsonA seasoned HR/organization development professional turned copywriter in 2005, Michele Richardson specializes in content strategy and writing for the digital world. When she’s not working or writing, you can find her curled up with a book and cup of Americano or training for her next half-marathon. Catch up with her on Google+ or Twitter.

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