I can’t emphasize this enough. Working in the recruiting industry, networking is not a word or concept we view lightly. In fact, it’s a way of life. We live, breathe, wake to, and fall asleep to networking. You ask any recruiter or client delivery leader what the most important aspect of their job is and they’ll tell you it’s networking. Okay maybe for some, hitting their goals tops their list, but I assure you networking slides in as a close second. And I guarantee they would not hit their goals without spending a bulk of their time networking.

Most job seekers probably already know that networking should be a main force in their job searching strategy. Anyone who’s been around awhile – me being one of them – can look back at how they received their previous jobs and identify how much networking played a part. To be honest, I can only remember two jobs that can’t be attributed to networking.

Networking has a way of interweaving its web into your professional career. In fact, a good way of viewing networking is to picture it as a web. It’s a web of all the contacts you’ve made throughout your career. But it’s not just limited to your professional relationships – networking spans across all your relationships – personal and professional. In fact, many personal networks turn into professional ones. And isn’t that the point?

Networking is so much a part of me that I rarely meet someone new where my mind doesn’t start on this path where I start thinking about how this person’s professional path could potentially meet my professional path, and how our connection can be beneficial to both of us. You could call it a curse. I like to call it networking.

When job searching, you should always have in the back of your mind when meeting someone new that this person could lead you to your next job. In fact, when meeting someone new, and even in your current network of friends and family, you should always find a way to let them know you’re actively job searching. And go a step further and ask for any leads they can provide. Don’t underestimate the power of networking.

To paint you a picture of how powerful networking can be, let me tell you the story of how I landed my current – and most favorite! – position. Twelve years ago I started a new job recruiting for all things – recruiters! Talk about building a network. A recruiter recruiting recruiters – nothing builds a network quite like that. Over the eight years I worked there I made many connections, developed an extensive network, and am happy to say, most of them I still consider friends to this day. Unfortunately, after eight years I was laid off due to an org restructure and found myself once again in the job market.

Not too much longer after that my dear friend and former co-worker, who incidentally got laid off the same day as me, brought me over to PeopleScout to help out on some of her accounts. It was part time but it was a way to get into the company. Not too much longer after that, our president who was also a former co-worker (and friend) at the previous company, was looking for an Executive Admin. When I heard she was looking, I immediately knew that was what I wanted to do. I submitted my resume, interviewed with her, and was offered the job! It was twelve years in the making, and several established networks that I developed throughout the years, that led me to the job I have now.

That leads me to my final point. Because I had positive relationships within my network, and established a good reputation in the industry, I was able to use that network to my advantage. My oldest son, who is just starting off in his career and is actively job searching, is coming to me for job searching guidance. My number one piece of advice to him is to not underestimate the power of networking. My second piece of advice is to never burn bridges. Had I not maintained positive relationships and connections, I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now. I’m a firm believer in karma and feel karma plays a powerful part in all we do. Networking does the same.

Happy job searching!

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