A Girl's Guide to Networking - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

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A Girl’s Guide to Networking

One of the most valuable skills you can have, and your route to the 50 to 75% of unadvertised job vacancies.

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Want to get ahead in the workplace? Perhaps propel your career forward or make the leap into a new one? Despite your business savviness, oodles of talent and winning attitude, sometimes just getting through the door comes down to that simple adage, “It’s who you know, baby!”

A Girl’s Guide to Networking

Networking expert, Sherry Thacker, believes that solid networking skills are amongst of the most important ones you can master. Thacker is the founder of WENS, a network composed of women entrepreneurs, business professionals and executives.

“Women network differently from men; we like to build relationships and really support one another,” says Thacker. “You do business with people you know, so you are more likely to take action on a reference or referral from someone you’re comfortable with. It’s all about trust.”

Networking provides these word-of-mouth endorsements, which Thacker says are vital to making new contacts and building business relationships. Each planned contact can lead to unexpected career opportunities. Statistics show that 50 to 75 percent of job vacancies are unadvertised, sometimes referred to as “the hidden market.” Qualified people referred by business contacts, friends and relatives fill these jobs.

With more and more women are graduating from universities and accelerating to top-level management positions, as well as starting their own businesses in record numbers, there’s an interest in creating these he-said-she-said career opportunities. Across North America, women’s networking organizations have been popping up in response to the demand. When done effectively, networking provides an edge. It’s an effective strategy for gaining career support, professional guidance and endless opportunities.

One of the most valuable skills you can have, and your route to the 50 to 75% of unadvertised job vacancies.

A Girl’s Guide to Networking

Additionally, networking is about collaboration, or the sharing of ideas, critical information and advice. Before attending a networking event, Thacker offers some sage advice, “Look the part – always, always look professional. If you’re not sure what to wear, dress up rather than down. Never gossip about people or be negative. Ugh! That is such a turn-off. If you have a smile, you’re outgoing and upbeat, people are going to want to meet you.”

Some typical networking events include alumni gatherings, conventions and trade shows. If you’re looking for a group to join where you can make meaningful contacts, consider professional organizations, industry associations, social and health clubs as well as networking groups. But how do you know what group is right for you? Thacker states that it’s important to have clear, identifiable goals. Pinpoint whether or not you’re at an event to make business contacts, build a support base or development your career. Once you’ve done this, you can make more effective choices about which events to attend or which groups to join.

“If you are in the wrong group, you are wasting time. Never confuse socializing with networking. If after six months you have not achieved some of your original objectives for joining the group, move on,” maintains Thacker.

Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 7 Comments

  1. This article was really useful for me. So hard to effectively network with other women, and/or find the right networking groups. Takes a lot of mindfulness and effort to filter through every person you meet in NYC. Will start using this article to help keep me on track. Us gals need to stick together!

  2. Courtney Watson

    This is really a great starter guide! It’s really hard to find a “good network,” but once you find it, you’re on your way to success! Having a good network helped me achieve more and worry less 🙂

  3. Excellent advice! For those just getting started (including me), networking can seem a little daunting. Defining goals seems like a good strategy. Thanks!

  4. Networking is a very good tool to get ahead in any career. Sometimes it's not what you know but who you know.

  5. Jen Spillane

    Setting clear goals does seem like a good way to get the most out of networking opportunities.

  6. Randie Cadiogan

    It is really all about trust. 😀 

  7. Networking is actually very similar to making friends…except that your main goal is business.

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