How Ignoring the Power of Networking Is Hindering the Growth of Your Marketing Career
After just a few minutes of browsing on LinkedIn, you can almost always recognize someone who’s actively looking for a new job…
Suddenly after weeks of inactivity, they rise from the grave, upload a new profile picture and polish up all of their skills and personal information. Their network is suddenly updated with dozens of new connections and they start engaging with every post on their feed. Even though you barely know them and hardly ever keep in contact with them, they start asking you about possible leads on any new gigs and suddenly want to be your best friend.
These are the classic telltale signs of someone who’s recently lost their job or urgently looking for a new one, using the powers of social media and former relationships to help them.
I see this far too often working as someone who works at a marketing recruitment firm and spends a lot of time on LinkedIn. There are too many marketing professionals who hinder their future career growth by not keeping in touch with their connections.
Don’t Burn Bridges
This is unfortunately a common thing that occurs often among marketing professionals, including those who are well experienced in the industry.
Of course when people reach out to me for help in acquiring about work opportunities, I’m more than happy to lend a helping hand – my passion lies in helping talented marketers find better jobs and improve their lives.
However, unexpectedly coming out of the blue and asking someone for a favor (whether personal or professional) isn’t the most optimal way to approach them. You’ll get a better response out of your acquaintances, marketing recruiters, and other connections in your network if you make the effort to keep a continuous relationship with them rather than only when you immediately need them.
LinkedIn Influencer Lou Adler states that 85% of jobs are filled via networking and is the primary way of finding potential employees:
Whether you’re currently looking for new work or not, it’s always beneficial to maintain good relationships with individuals and organizations. They will certainly be helpful if you’re ever out of a job and in desperate need of one, so it’s important to not burn any bridges. Not to mention, some of the most successful marketing professionals are always open to hearing about new job opportunities, whether they’re currently employed or not.
One of the most important factors that will accelerate the growth of your career involves building a strong network of connections. It may be difficult to find time to make socializing with others your top priority in your busy schedule, but it will certainly be worth it.
Adopt a Long-Term Perspective on Your Career Growth
Surprisingly, I’ve found that the professionals who often neglect their network aren’t the “slackers” but more often the high-performing, driven individuals who are well advanced in their careers. These are the marketers who are fully dedicated to their jobs and in turn find that they’re “too busy” to keep up with professional contacts and even close friends.
It’s completely understandable – trying to keep a healthy balance between a heavy workload and your personal life, all while getting an adequate amount of rest and pursuing your personal goals is challenging for even some of the most experienced professionals in the industry. Add on the obligation of keeping up friends and staying relevant on social media, and you realize some things have to be pushed aside to keep your priorities in check.
However, devoting all of your time on immediate work and responsibilities may cause you to miss out on great opportunities and interfere with the long-term growth of your career.
Beneath the Surface
When approaching professional networking, it’s important to recognize that the benefits are favorable for all professionals, including marketers who are happy with their current positions.
A few personal benefits include:
• Possibility of new job opportunities with better pay and benefits
• More appeal to potential employers by being well-connected
• Development of interpersonal relationship and communication skills
• Newfound friendships and partnerships
You can also encounter benefits that enhance their value as an employee:
• Meet other talented marketing professionals that can add immense value to your company
• New client contacts and possible business opportunities
• Stay relevant with all of the latest industry trends and news
Don’t Be Intimidated
Many fear that professional networking will put a strain on their busy schedules and interfere with their work. And it can, if you don’t approach it properly.
Networking and building relationships with other professionals should be an integral part of your commitments as an expert in the marketing industry but it shouldn’t be looked upon as a burden. If you see it as so, you won’t enjoy it as much and won’t see the true value of it. This is your time to show others how awesome you are on a personal level, which can only compliment your tremendous talents and expertise as a marketing professional!
While some professionals exert all of their energy into networking during every possible opportunity they get, it’s comforting to know that just a little bit of effort can go a long way. Simply reaching out to a few new contacts or re-engaging with former acquaintances a few times out of the month can help you see great a return on your efforts.
Schedule a coffee date with an old colleague or congratulate your former classmate on their 2 year work anniversary on LinkedIn. A few simple gestures of effort to stay relevant within your network of connections can certainly pay off in the future!