Top 5 Ways to Leverage your Network for Career Growth.
Updated: Oct 22, 2021
A small company started by two friends from their hostel room found an angel investor. It scaled its customer base to a point of a ‘downpour’ and launched an IPO. This isn’t a one-off scenario. Every year, several individuals and companies scale from scratch to millions.
The truth is that many high-paying jobs and business opportunities are 'not' listed. The only way to spot them is through focused, quality networking.
How can leveraging your network help you?
If leveraged in the correct manner, it can help you
Bag desired job roles
Win business opportunities with investors and mentors
Achieve business goals
Unlock your best potential
Let’s see 5 proven ways to leverage your network – even if you’re an introvert.
1. Build relationships instead of hard selling.
Remember, networking isn’t similar to cold pitching. Networking is about building business relations and support communities. The community can consist of prospective customers, mentors, sponsors or like-minded industry professionals.
Strong relationships go beyond one-time hard sells. You can get first-hand access to opportunities, jobs and insider news that isn’t listed on the web.
Joining business networking groups wherein mutual business interests are shared is the fastest way to build valuable relationships. Local Chamber Of Commerce, Business Networking International (BNI), Rotary International, Lions Club International are a few of the hotspots for finding valuable connections.
2. Don’t sell. Solve.
Here is a complete disclosure about human nature – everyone cares about themselves. Their growth and benefits matter more than yours.
When you connect for the first time, it's important to not start by selling what you have. Instead, the approach must be to voice their problems and offer what you have as 'their solution'.
For instance, if you offer website making services. The approach must not be to sell your website making services to everyone in the group. But to evaluate the prospect’s current business and websites, ask shortcomings without hesitation, offer website suggestions/ integrations (right from website copy, chatbot integrations, payment gateways, blog sections, etc.) can improve their business performance
3. Introverts ≠ Networking. Break this miscalculated formula
When the aim is to find the best job or business leads; a personality type shouldn’t call the shots. Walking up to a stranger at a party and then linking the conversation to ‘business’ is exhausting. And that's why business networking groups come into the picture.
Making small talk at a party is different from talking in a business network group. Groups like BNI, local Chamber of Commerce and many more are intended to discuss mutually beneficial career/ business relations. The agenda is crystal clear.
If it helps to know, many fortune company owners have an introverted personality type.
4. Live by the L-A-W
Are you ready to 'Learn', 'Act' and accept 'Weakness'? In the journey of networking up the career graph -
Be open to learn and unlearn
Take action as advised by mentors. Participate in meetings, share your ideas and volunteer to help.
Welcome constructive criticism to boost your career graph. After all, humans have flaws. And so do their business ideas.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
They can't know you need it enough if you don't ask enough.
Most people start their careers or businesses from scratch. It's okay to ask your connections – for a job, business opportunity or a chance to make a pitch. There's no reason to shy away if you know you're capable of delivering the best quality and results.
Ultimately, everyone at some point or other is greeted by the 'opportune' moment in life. You might find opportunities knocking at your door when you least expect it. It's about pouncing on it. Leave no stone unturned in delivering the work at hand and see how it will work wonders for you.
Unfortunately, most business schools may not teach the art of networking for career growth. Consulting a competent professional networking coach can make job easier for you.
Paritosh Pathak is on such networking coach who is on the mission to empower professionals and businesses grow by the power of strategic networking.