Career advancement is all about opportunities, specifically taking advantage of opportunities that already exist and also creating new ones. That’s because the more opportunities you have, the better your odds for growth.
Networking is one way to both take advantage of existing opportunities and also create new opportunities.
The importance of networking lies in this central fact: over half of all successful job searches and career changes are the direct result of networking. Here’s an equally important fact: the best time to network is NOT when you find yourself without a job; it’s when are employed.
In fact, the best time to network is all the time, because you never know when your networking efforts will pay off in the form of a golden opportunity for better employment.
You might be asking, “Okay, which networking opportunities already exist that I don’t know about?” That’s a great question, and we have the answer. Below are eight networking opportunities you might be overlooking:
#1—Friends from high school and/or college
Basically, this pertains to any type of formal educational setting. Those who were friends then can help you in your career now, so stay in touch with as many of them as possible.
#2—Former co-workers and bosses
Just because you don’t work with them anymore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still maintain contact via email, telephone, social media, or otherwise. They could very well find out about job openings before you do.
#3—Sports and recreational activities
No, you don’t have to be a CrossFit fanatic for this one. You could join a bowling league, a softball team, or a walking or running club. The emphasis is on networking, not necessarily on “getting ripped.”
#4—Those who share the same hobbies as you
The same rule that applies to sports and recreational activities applies to hobbies. If you have a particular hobby or interest, sign up and network with individuals who share your pursuits and passions.
#5—Your church/religious affiliation
Many churches offer support groups or networking opportunities for members, regardless of faith, so be sure to do your research.
#6—The local chamber of commerce
There are more networking opportunities here than one might think, including socials, luncheons, and various committees. All you have to do is inquire.
These include the Rotary, Lions, or any other reputable service organization. While you’re helping others, you can also network. Other examples include the American Red Cross and the Leukemia Society, and there are many, many more.
#8—Schools and school-related organizations and activities
If you have school-age children, there are countless organizations and activities in which you can get involved these days. In fact, chances are good that you’re already involved. All you have to do is network along the way.
Depending upon the position, companies can receive scores of applications and resumes for a single opening.
Even if that’s not the case, it’s important to stand out from the crowd, no matter how large that crowd might be. One way to do so is to “qualify and quantify” your accomplishments during the hiring process.
First, let’s identify which parts of the hiring process we’re talking about, specifically. Those parts would be the resume (your foot in the door) and the phone and/or face-to-face interview (your stepping stone to an offer of employment).
Second, let’s explain what qualifying and quantifying mean.
To qualify your resume or interview answers, you must describe the qualities and experience you possess for the particular job. In other words, you must prove to company officials that you’re capable and a fit for the position.
Use descriptive statements that will effectively convey your experience and qualifications. You must be very specific to clearly define what your skills and experience are in relation to the job.
Also include action words such as the following: accomplish, achieve, supervise, execute, expedite, expand, implement, organize, reduce, resolve, upgrade, and delegate.
Example: Consistently exceeded yearly sales goals and designed and led product training classes for all sales personnel in several different divisions.
This example is specific, descriptive, and uses appropriate wording, but lacks figures and numbers that will give it more impact and credibility. This just so happens to be where quantifying comes in.
To quantify your resume or interview answers, you must use figures and numbers that specifically apply to your experience and accomplishments. This quantitative language could include duration, dollars,and percentages, etc., that will clearly measure your level of skill and success.
Let’s take the example we used above and quantify it.
Example: Consistently exceeded quarterly sales goals by 25% over the last five (5) years and designed and led product knowledge classes for 52 sales personnel in four different divisions.
To recap, when qualifying and quantifying your resume and interview questions, do the following four things:
Follow this blueprint closely, and you stand a much better chance of “qualifying and quantifying” your way to job search success.
Time Staffing Inc.