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How Networked Are You

Yogesh Bansal
Yogesh Bansal
Founder & CEO, ApnaCircle
Yogesh is a serial entrepreneur who always believed in the concept of networking sites and founde... more>>
Gen Y is the generation of “Smart & Efficient work” and I believe the smartness lies in networking. The professional networking sites and the needs of today’s generation has taken networking to a different level. Networking and meeting people of different expertise can help you when you need information, suggestions, guidance or even a business or career opportunity. Getting these via networking is not a surprise at all in today’s times. Hence it is vital that you are very well networked professionally. A few attributes could show or tell how networked you are.

 “Who you know” is as important as “What you know”. And I am of the same opinion, meeting people and making positive connections can benefit you in different phases of your professional life, as you climb up the ladder.

College and B- schools are full opportunities for networking, but it is up to the student to utilize these opportunities. Networking with your faculties, professors and college alumnus could update you on various subjects of your interest and companies you look at as your prospective employers. For me, my involvement on campus started with one thing and then had a chain reaction on me joining more and more things. Being involved gives you the opportunity to meet people not just within the university but throughout the community. Recommendation is another factor that work and support “who you are what you do”. Recommendations’ by faculty, professors and fellow students are of great importance. Having your Professors and seniors support, comment and talk about you on a public platform builds an initial image about you and opens up gateways of opportunities.

Once you decide which way you want your career to go, you can join various communities and groups both online and offline. This gives you an extra edge. The discussions and activities in these groups update you on the latest market trends. I always believed that being a proactive networker not only keeps you updated but also increases your circle of influence. The experience you get from being involved and the people you meet can be invaluable for your future. These are the forum which gives you a platform to showcase yourself and fetch students’ internships in many cases. It is said that up to 85% of jobs are never advertised and so I assume that there are also many internships that are never advertised as well.

Networking helps us to uncover those hidden possibilities. Start your networking from home. You can begin your internship exploration by contacting friends, family, and faculty. Faculty are a good source to consider when looking for internships since they usually know of other students who have had similar interests to yours and who may have completed internships in the field.

The networking does not end at the gate of your opportunity, it is a continuous process. Your networking should be strong enough to get someone help you, guide you or recommend you. An internship can be tough however I say that one-on-one networking during an internship is a must—without neglecting the actual job. Because networking if done in a right way leaves a great impression on the employer, it can lead to a permanent job offer or a handy recommendation.

Having a strong professional network is always a plus. I happened to have met all my professional partners through networking.  The contacts of my contacts can be and have been really beneficial for my business. The work for me became much easier as I did not have to waste my time hunting for my business associates. Because of my network I directly got connected with people who were my prospective business associates. For me the reduction of time meant additional time for personal pursuits, time with my family and friends, and less worries about my business.

As I mentioned earlier networking is one of the best ways to land a new job. Ask yourself, are you making purposeful connections or networking aimlessly? Are you aware of the opportunities in the market?  Networking can expose you to jobs that aren’t posted online or in newspapers.  Making others know that you are looking for a job and what your expertise and experience is could open career doors of opportunity.

It is important that you leave those you meet with a positive impression. Make sure to make connections with the right people in the right way. They need to be sent the message that you are competent and pleasant to deal with.  Being optimistic and excited about what you do makes them remember you and want to maintain a connection with you.  A key to this is to be diligent about returning emails and phone calls to maintain your credibility with them.  It’s amazing how credibility takes you a long way in your career.

Your networking also keeps you updated on the movements of your colleagues and the industry trends. You can also get regular feeds and updates of the news’ that interest you. There are various means to get information you desire today. There are apps, there are social and professional networking sites. Sharing and receiving industry or an individual specific information was one reason why we introduced our ‘Smart News’ feature on ApnaCircle.com. ‘Smart News’ gives you the latest news shared on ApnaCircle about your chosen or set keywords. This enables an individual to not necessarily connect with a contact but still receive relevant news shared by him/her. A user can customize the news that they want by the keyword settings.

It is important for you to know yourself before you go out and make castles in the air. Discover your strengths and weaknesses and then, using your strengths to your advantage is an art which helps you build the brand “YOU”.  The first impression that a prospective contact gets is from your professional profile, hence is it extremely important. Your profile should be well written, informative and focused in terms of your expectations.

The biggest mistake that people make in networking is that they don’t do it. The power of networking goes beyond the virtual world to facilitate networking offline as well. You can attend industry events, business networking, bar camps, meet ups and so on and add people you meet there, to your contact list. This networking i.e. offline networking when meets online networking, brings a wave of opportunities.

It is important to network purposefully and professional networking demands consistency. It is very important to keep the visitors of your profile engaged to enable them to gauge you and open new opportunities for you every time they visit your profile.       

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