Network and you might get that job you desire
SUBSTANTIAL, long-term relationships are the key to career success, and 'slow' is the new 'fast fix', say advisers.
People who zoom around a venue handing out business cards annoy far more people than they connect with. The country's leading career experts are advising a new approach to successful networking for people entering the job market.
The principle is quality, not quantity, says the latest Careers SA, an annual online career guide published on www.careerssa. net with partners Accenture and Standard Bank.
The guide states: "Seventy to 80% of jobs aren't advertised in newspapers or on the Internet. These vacancies are filled by unsolicited applications and word of mouth - proof that networking really does pay off."
But the key is not "fly-by-night" networking. According to the website, the top ten avenues for successful networking all focus on building relationships that have substance - for instance, by participating in a company traineeship or internship, joining study circles or participating in parties and clubs. Even sporting clubs, family and their colleagues have their place on the list.
Networking relationships require effort and input, says Careers SA.
"Continue networking even after you have a job. Maintain contacts by attending meetings and conferences or through regular phone calls and emails," they advise.
Dave Duarte, CEO of Treeshake, says one of the most important tools that young professionals have at their disposal is a business network.
"Many top jobs and opportunities come through peer referrals so get in touch with people in your industry or people who have similar business interests and use Twitter and LinkedIn. Also attend conferences and short courses," Duarte says.
And it's not just a matter of following someone on Twitter. Social media is a springboard for building relationships, not a substitute. There is no substitute for human contact, says Dr Ivan Misner, founder of the business networking organisation BNI.
"One of the most common mistakes people make about networking is that they don't understand it is about farming and not hunting.
" Many misunderstand and think networking is transactional. They expect instant returns.
"Real networking is transformational. It is about developing long-term relationships," Misner says.
The human touch is vital for Suresh Kana, CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers (one of the 39 organisations featured on the website), during his career. The relationships he built as a young man networking via a trainee programme inspired him - and his approach - for the rest of his life.
"The coaching culture in PwC had a significant effect on my career path. Throughout my career, I sought to develop myself and those around me. I do not see success as a destination, but enjoy the path and the people I meet on the way," Kana says.
Missing Links CEO, Richard Mulholland agrees: "A critical part of my success is that I have surrounded myself with smart people inside and outside the corporate world . I feel mentored by them every day".
So slow down, take stock of your relationships and nurture them. Look at the benefits at your disposal, then look at where the gaps are and when you meet someone who has the potential to help you, - make that relationship meaningful.