How Networking Can Increase your Net Worth
By Tiffany Bass Bukow, Founder of MsMoney.com
If you didn’t inherit money, then the likelihood is that you will need to earn your wealth by developing your career. You can grow your wealth and your net worth by increasing your job opportunities. What better way to open doors in your professional field than by tapping into your natural resources of friends, associates and community?
Networking is a powerful tool to help you reach your goals and fulfill your dreams. Imagine yourself in retirement, relaxing on an exotic island, leisurely strolling on a sun-filled beach, without a care in the world. A great fantasy indeed – but one that can be yours if you take the time in advance to build your career through networking with others.
I would have to attribute the majority of my career success to networking. I am not alone – the Wall Street Journal stated that 94% of people felt networking made a difference in their careers. Why is networking such an effective way to get the job you want?
It breaks down to a simple fact. Hiring managers are more apt to fill a job position with a referral from someone they know, than from a stack of letters and resumes they received in the mail. The following reasons explain why.
- Hiring managers are short on time and are looking for a quick solution.
- It is hard to judge how a person will perform on the job by a cover letter and resume.
- There is usually an overwhelming stack of resumes to sort through.
- There is no personal connection with words on a page.
- Hiring a new employee is a risky proposition.
So what is the manager likely to do? They probably are going to take the advice of a friend or associate who knows the person applying for the position. Even though the candidate may not be the perfect fit, the personal connection gives them a competitive edge in the process and the hiring manager peace of mind. Having some personal connection with the manager also comes in handy when negotiating compensation.
I cannot extol the benefits enough of expanding your network of business professionals. For my first company, networking helped me secure five Fortune 100 clients in the first two years. In my second startup, it gave me the opportunity to raise millions of dollars instead of struggling financially to fund the organization myself. In my third business, it allowed me to close my first million-dollar account in just 30 days. Connections I established networking helped me secure speaking opportunities that paid $2,500 an hour. Networking has also helped me arrange First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presence at the launch of my company Web site. It was responsible for my presence on a dozen major TV news shows and for the positive reviews of my company in over 40 popular magazines including, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Time.
As you can see, networking is a very powerful tool. With anything that can affect your life and career so dramatically, I recommend you take it seriously. It is going to take some real effort on your part. You will have to set aside any fears you have of meeting new people. Because – IT IS all about meeting new people. To be a successful networker you have to get comfortable introducing yourself to strangers – all the time – everywhere you go. You have to get active! This is the time to start going to events, especially activities around your professional interests.
When asked the secret to my networking success, I often add: networking isn’t about taking, it is about giving. It is about giving your time, attention and energy to someone else and quickly determining how you can help them in any way. This may seem like a simple task, but it isn’t. Think how difficult it is to focus all of your attention on someone you just met without letting other random thoughts enter your head, such as; am I dressed okay or do I have food in my teeth? It is a skill that can be developed over time and eventually mastered.
Once you learn to center your energy on other people and offer them help, their natural reaction will be to help you in return. You won’t even have to ask for it. This makes networking a more enjoyable process. Instead of thinking how you are going to solicit help from a stranger at an event, you can think about how you are going to help someone that day. It has worked wonders, not only my career, but also for me personally. It enhances my life and makes me a happier person when I know I am doing something positive for other individuals.
By reaching out to other business people in my community, I was able to broaden my horizons and open doors that I would not have recognized without guidance. People are always ready to help. Keep that in mind and have fun!