Whatever your career goals are, you can do a great deal to help push them along by connecting with other people. In fact, it is about a little more than just making connections (either in-person or online), but also showing that you are the sort of person who they might want to help. But, before we get to that part, let’s talk about the importance of who you know when it comes to getting a job or progressing your career.
Life is all about relationships, from your relationships to your family, friends, and even your fellow students or work colleagues. The idea of nepotism may seem bad to you as people gain an unfair advantage because of who they know, but it is a fact of life, so it is worth taking note of who you know – especially when it comes to your career.
If you have a specific career goal you may want to see if anyone you know can help you get ahead – maybe by making a useful introduction or even putting in a good word to help you get a job. However, to make the most of these opportunities you may need to show that you are the sort of person who they will want to help – and this may mean helping others.
Speak with your friends, for example, about what your career goals are – can you help them with theirs by making an introduction for them? In return they may be able to help you too. Even if they can’t do anything right now, they will surely remember your help and be happy to do the same for you should the opportunity arise.
Being liked is a simple part of the equation – so wherever you go try to be polite and friendly. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people who ignore this basic advice and thereby end up missing out on opportunities. After all, nobody is likely to go out of their way to help you if you aren’t a nice person.
There are those who advise that you network as a proactive way of advancing your career – almost systematically looking through your contacts to see who may be of use – and seeking others who may be useful too. While this can work it may seem a little bit unsavoury, but you can get the same effect more naturally by just doing what you love.
If your career goals revolve around something you already enjoy, you may already have useful contacts. For example, if you are interested in heritage work, meeting people when you visit a local museum may prove useful. Equally an interest in music could help you take your first steps into the industry.
Don’t be afraid to help others – you are not aiding the competition but actually building up good credit with those around you – credit which could come back to help you too!