I honestly never thought networking was required for my career. I figured that if I work hard I will get the promotion I deserve. I thought that because I have been with the company for so many years, hiring managers will indubitably reach out to my boss for recommendations and to seek feedback about me and my professional style. I guess I never really agreed that in the corporate world, it really is about who you know. I was working super hard without lifting my head up for long enough to actually connect with people around me. So much so that once “the main area that you need to work on is developing personal relationships” was the conclusion of my performance review.
The harsh reality of today’s corporate world is that recruiting is done by a computer, based on pre-defined key words. The “thank you for your interest in our company” message always makes me laugh. “Interest”? I have only been with the company for 10+n number of years. You are welcome, Mr. Robot. But don’t worry – I’ll come again.
Another reality of life is that most of us do prefer to deal with people we are acquainted with. Regardless of the situation, people would rather interact, work, do business, even mingle at the office party with someone who they have already met, who they like, who they think they know, who they think they can trust.
To quote our fearless leader – “let’s make this a year of action”. Contemplatingly, I have decided that I have been cocooned long enough. Since I am now looking for a new challenge, I believe it is important to start putting myself out there to build the solid network I will need to support me in my quest for excellence.
Granted, it could be awkward to reach out to someone you never even met. However, the benefits of networking definitely outweigh the risks. It is important to keep in mind that most people are flattered by the fact that you consider than an expert at what they do. Most people are happy to talk about what they love. Most people are happy to see other people grow. And if they don’t respond, just smile wide the next time you see them and be sure to kill them with niceness every chance you get.
I believe that the networking reality is about being in the right place at the right time. Even if it is just being on someone’s mind. So when the next challenge comes up on the horizon, people will think of me as the best one to handle it.