Building your professional network is crucial to your career success. It’s estimated that 60 percent of jobs are filled by referrals alone according to ResumeBear. So, if you’re not networking, you’re at a real disadvantage right from the get-go! Knowing someone in the right industry or working at the right company is ideal, but that shouldn’t be your only focus when you are building your network. You might be surprised to realize how many people know someone who knows someone. Think of people as links in a chain. How many links until you get to your target contact? That’s not to say the contacts serving as links in the chain are any less valuable. Quite the contrary, without them, you would be hard-pressed to make an ideal contact—underscoring the importance of every person you meet along the way. For example, your hairstylist may have a customer who mentioned a friend that works in the industry you are pursuing. Your hairdresser (link one) is able to connect you with their customer (link two) who can put you in touch with that friend (link three). While that friend may have a job in the industry, but not in the specific profession you are seeking, they probably know someone at their company that works in that role that they could refer you to (link four). Now, that person will serve as a strong contact in your network. But even better, since people tend to run in the same circles, there’s a chance this individual has a contact at the company you are targeting or knows someone who might (link five). You see how this works? When you grasp the value of every person you encounter, you’ll begin to discover incredible connections that will help you build a strong professional network!
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