If you think career development is all about you, think again. The people you surround yourself with will also matter, and they make up your professional network.
In today’s highly competitive job market, it is not uncommon for qualified applicants to be passed over for positions that seem like a perfect fit for their skills, knowledge, and experience.
There will always be people with more, if not the same, skills and knowledge you have for the job you applied for. Those categories, the hard skills, will always be the easiest part of the process. Recruiters only get a small glimpse of the soft skills that matter when you are already hired.
So where else will recruiters look when determining if you are the right candidate for the open role? Many can speculate on where the difference-maker will be when analyzing your technical expertise for the position. However, most would say that career experience is the next best bet when checking if an applicant is best suited for the role. They may examine the candidate’s job titles, responsibilities, and accomplishments to assess how their previous work aligns with the open position’s requirements.
However, one promising area that many applicants overlook is the importance of references. The professionals to who applicants attach their names to can increase their chances of landing the job they desire. Why? Because it shows a glimpse of the professional network, you can bring to the table.
The Power of Your Professional Network
It can provide you with valuable referrals, connections, and insights to help you stand out from other candidates in the job market. Statistics show that up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking and referrals, making it clear that having a solid professional network is essential for career success.
When you have a strong network of professional contacts, you increase your chances of getting referred for job opportunities that may not be publicly advertised. In many cases, employers rely on their personal and professional networks to identify potential candidates for job openings, which means that you may miss out on valuable opportunities if you don’t have a strong network. A referral from someone in your network can also help you bypass the initial screening process and get your foot in the door with a potential employer.
In addition to providing referrals and connections, an excellent professional network can offer valuable insights into your desired industry or career path. By connecting with professionals already established in your field, you can learn about industry trends, best practices, and other valuable information to help you develop your skills and knowledge. This information can also help craft your resume and cover letter and prepare for job interviews, giving you a competitive advantage over other candidates.
How Can You Build Your Professional Network?
Of course, gathering a professional network is easier said than done. It takes time and effort to build a strong network, and you will face plenty of challenges along the way.
One of the biggest challenges applicants face when building a professional network is finding the time to attend events, connect with others, and maintain relationships. With a busy schedule and other personal and professional obligations, it can be difficult to prioritize networking.
Many applicants may also be hesitant to reach out to other professionals for fear of rejection. They may worry that their outreach will be seen as intrusive or that they don’t have anything valuable to offer. Also, applicants who lack confidence in their abilities or knowledge may be hesitant to network. They may worry that they don’t have anything valuable to offer or that they will come across as inexperienced or unprofessional.
In some cases, opportunities to network may be limited. For example, applicants living in rural areas or in industries with few events or associations may have fewer opportunities to connect with other professionals. Fortunately, moving from one job to another can help you increase your chances of building a professional network.
Finally, building a network is only the first step. Maintaining those relationships can be challenging, especially if the applicant has an extensive network. It can be difficult to stay in touch with everyone and remember important details about each contact.
With all the potential obstacles out of the way, you can start working on building your professional network. Here are a few strategies that can help you with the process:
Attend Industry Events
Attending industry events is a great way to meet other professionals in your field. Look for events relevant to your industry, such as conferences, trade shows, and networking events. These events provide an opportunity to connect with other professionals, learn about new trends, and share your knowledge with others.
Join Professional Associations
Joining a professional association is an excellent way to connect with others in your field. Look for relevant associations to your industry, and attend meetings and events regularly. These associations often offer networking opportunities, workshops, and other resources that can help you develop your skills and knowledge.
Participate in Online Communities
Joining online communities such as LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, and other online forums can provide an opportunity to connect with other professionals in your field. Participate in discussions, share your knowledge, and ask questions. This can help you establish yourself as an expert in your area and build relationships with other professionals.
Volunteering for organizations relevant to your industry can be an excellent way to meet other professionals while giving back to your community. Look for opportunities to volunteer your time and skills and connect with other volunteers and staff members.
Stay in Touch
Once you have established a connection with another professional, staying in touch is essential. Follow up with them regularly, send them relevant articles or resources, and invite them to events or meetings. This can help you maintain a strong relationship with them and keep them in your network.
Be a Resource
When you meet someone looking for help or advice, offer your expertise and resources. This can help you establish yourself as a valuable resource in your network and build strong relationships with other professionals.
How to Make Resume Reflect Your Professional Network
When applying for a job, many applicants focus on the technical skills and experience that are relevant to the position. However, it’s important to remember that recruiters consider an applicant’s professional network when hiring. Here are some tips on how applicants can ensure that their resume reflects their professional network:
Include Relevant Connections: If you have relevant connections in your network, such as previous colleagues, mentors, or industry leaders, consider mentioning them in your resume. For example, you could highlight a project you worked on with a former colleague or mention a conference you attended with an industry leader.
Showcase Your Professional Associations: If you are a professional association member, include it in your resume. This shows you are committed to your industry and actively learning and networking.
Highlight Volunteer Work: If you have volunteered for an organization relevant to your industry, include it in your resume. This shows that you are passionate about your work and are willing to give back to your community.
Use Keywords: Incorporating relevant keywords in your resume can help recruiters see you have a solid professional network. For example, if you mention a professional association, use keywords related to that association or industry in your resume.
Of course, recruiters end up diving into applicants’ LinkedIn pages or social media accounts when it is difficult to determine who among several candidates deserves the open position. As a result, it might be a good idea to create an active digital presence and build a solid professional network.
Apply Now at iSupport Worldwide!
In conclusion, having a solid professional network is crucial in today’s job market. It can help applicants stand out to recruiters, uncover new job opportunities, and provide valuable insights and connections throughout their careers. At iSupport Worldwide, we recognize the importance of building a solid professional network. That’s why we offer our employees opportunities to connect with other professionals in their field, attend industry events and conferences, and participate in training and development programs.
By working at iSupport Worldwide, our employees gain access to a diverse and dynamic community of professionals in various industries. We encourage our employees to actively engage with their network and develop meaningful relationships that can lead to career growth and advancement. Whether through our team-building activities, employee engagement programs, or training and development seminars, we provide our employees with the resources they need to build a solid professional network.
If you want to join our team and build your professional network, we invite you to apply now. With a focus on employee growth and development, iSupport Worldwide is the perfect place to take your career to the next level.