Lysa Catlin Networking

About 70% of jobs are never posted, and up 80% are filled through personal connections.

Most of us need an “in.” That’s why when a close contact lands an enviable position with a respected company, it looks to their friends and family like a door has opened with that company: because it has!

In order to have more opportunities, we must build up a network of people — mentors, colleagues, friends, and family — and nurture those relationships with them. 

Meeting people and maintaining warm relationships is part of networking.

Networking is not some awkward business card exchange mixer with coffee and pastry. Actually, sometimes networking events are like this, but that is not the only way that networking occurs.

Networking is about helping each other out in mutually beneficial relationships. It’s about checking in on former coworkers you remember fondly. It is about recommending a qualified person for a position that needs filling. It is not about begging favors off of those in places of influence or pestering a contact for a job.

It’s actually an evolutionary imperative: something that got human beings where they are today. We form groups of reciprocity. We help each other and develop supportive social spheres. No more cave people hunting and gathering on their lonesome: we have block parties and join professional groups. We start softball leagues and plan playdates. We find reasons to gather and strengthen bonds. It’s what made a fleshy, furless, bipedal primate able to survive against tough predators in formidable environments.

And what’s wonderful about it is, networking can be done anywhere. Wherever other people are, there is an opportunity to network. 

When people open up a bit, with a smile, maybe, or by putting down the phone, they instantly increase the likelihood that they will meet someone new.

What comes next? Following up. Make time to check in on the people you’ve met and chat with old friends, too.

Not only could it lead to career opportunities, socializing improves health by reducing stress, For BOTH sides of the conversation.

No human is an island. We must look out for each other. The self-made man is a myth. We need to network to be happy and to advance our careers.