85% of job offerings are never posted: the importance of networking and personal branding

You may know of the hidden pool of job opportunities, available only to those with a good network, but that is not the full extent of the power of networking and personal branding.

Alessandra Mariani Employability Manager and Career Coach, guided students of the Executive Masters through the many aspects of networking.

Networking and personal branding activities are two key points for the career development. Not only for the practical aspect of job hunting, but also when you consider the personal growth and learning one can achieve by interacting with others, an activity that results in a long term, but fruitful, investment.

Identify your networking style

According to Adam Grant, organizational psychologist, professor and bestselling author, there are kinds of networkers: takers, matchers and givers.

  • A Taker seeks something while networking. They connect with others with the goal of gaining something such as information, leads, business, etc. Takers are cautious and protective, their main trait is competitiveness.
  • Matchers help others in their network while expecting reciprocity. If a matcher does a favor for someone, they will be disappointed if there is no equitable return. Matchers believe in fairness and expect to be treated as they treat others.
  • Givers network with the goal to help others without expecting something in return. They intentionally build a network of relationships by giving. They exercise good judgment in who they network with to avoid being taken advantage of. Their defining trait is generosity.

According to Grant givers are sometimes the most successful people, and are often underestimated. To Grant, their qualities make them easy to be found both at the top and bottom of the ladder.

Once you’ve understood the correct strategy for each networking style, you can learn about who to network with. Granovetter aids us in this, with his weak tie theory. To him, interpersonal ties are either strongweak or absent.

  • A strong tie is someone within a close circle of family and friends. Strong ties are essential for real community but they are typically groups with a great deal of similarity and, as such, less likely than more tenuous connections to carry new information and perspectives to their groups.
  • Weak ties are those where there is potential for impact but often disturbed by environment or circumstances.
  • Absent ties are connections that might be expected to exist but don’t.

Identify your objectives

Making clear what you hope to achieve through personal branding and networking is the key to obtaining whatever you set out to achieve. For example, if your goal is entering a new industry you might want to look at networking with people in your desired industry, with a goal of obtaining information.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to become self employed you would like to connect with prospects and appear as a reputable source in your field.

Together with our guest students discussed networking goals and identifying  medium-term goals. Students also learned about monitoring and maintenance of networking activities.

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