One of the things we careers advisers talk about a lot, and I mean A LOT, is the importance of talking to people; building connections; networking.
There are loads of reasons for this, such as:
1 – You can really understand what doing a job is like by talking to those who do it;
2- You can get information through talking that no one will write down, so you know more than your competition;
3- You practice talking to the type of people who will end up interviewing you, meaning you’ll be more successful in selection processes; and
4- Doors will open to you that you otherwise wouldn’t even know existed.
I’m not a natural networker, so I tend to confine my networking maintenance to people I like, rather than maintain a really broad reach (do as I say, not as I do). But I’ve been working 21 years now, so I still know quite a lot of people, many of whom I haven’t actually worked with for over a decade.
This fact was brought home to me earlier today when I returned to my desk after a meeting – 2 emails sitting next to me in my inbox were from people I haven’t worked in the same company for over 11 years. Both of whom I’m happy to help, and I know will do their best to help me too.
So next time you hear a careers adviser, or anyone else, bang on about the power of networking take heed and act on it. And also take this as a warning – if people I got on with 11 years ago are still keen to reach out, then there are probably a few people who disliked me with long memories too!