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Get over your fear of networking

3 reasons it's important to get out there and do it

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By Roxanne Ravenel for Excelle

If you are a job hunter you’ve likely heard much about the importance of networking. Perhaps you’re reluctant to give it a try. You’re not alone.

According to a recent study conducted by Pepperdine University and Upwardly Mobile, Inc., “both the corporate and academic realms are seemingly blind to the power of networking, evidenced by a large population of students and employees who want to network but do not believe they are skilled enough to do so effectively.”

If your fear of networking is holding you back in your job search or career, here are three good reasons to get over your fear of networking fast:

1.) Networking is a critical business skill. Networking — the ability to meet new people and build mutually beneficial partnerships — is an essential business skill. It is far more than just getting out and meeting people, collecting stacks of business cards, or making countless “friends” or “connections” online. Networking effectively necessitates long-term, strategic thinking.

“You know those Verizon commercials where the entire network is standing behind a person? That’s how I see people. Everyone in my mind has a network standing behind them,” says Molly Wendell, President & CEO of Executives Network, a quickly growing peer-networking organization for executives in transition.

Individuals within your network may or may not be able to help you personally. However, they are more than willing to introduce you to people in their network who can. The ability to develop and tap into an extensive professional network is fundamental to success in business. This is true whether you are networking as a professional, job hunter, or entrepreneur.

2.) Your ability to network effectively can directly impact your career achievements and income.The Elite Networker study mentioned earlier reveals that networking is a key driver behind higher salaries and career advancement. This is particularly true of high-earning, “elite” professionals. They are adept at cultivating richer relationships and gaining more access. Thus they enjoy a higher level of success in their careers and personal lives. -- a recognized authority in executive recruiting and human capital – states, “Career advancement is all about making connections with people who can share ideas, leads and opportunities.”

The Elite Networker study illustrates that anyone can benefit significantly by improving their networking skills, habits, and mindset.

3.) Networking is the most effective job search strategy. Networking is a highly-effective job search strategy. According to the Elite Networker study, 40 percent of respondents found their current position through networking and referrals. Yet another study, ExecuNet’s Executive Job Market Intelligence Report 2008, reveals that 70 percent of job search executives found their current positions through networking.

Molly Wendell can testify to the effectiveness of networking. A few years ago, also during a tough economy, Molly spent more than 21 months looking for a job with barely an interview. Then she decided to change her approach to her job search.

About the Author

Excelle is a networking site for the career-minded woman.

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