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10-14 The School of Hard Knocks: Career-based networking

The School of Hard Knocks: Career-based networking

A common expression many seasoned workers pass down is, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” This is essentially the goal of networking, whether it is in the world of business or social media. Although many teens look at social media as a fun activity, they may not be aware of how online networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter have laid a foundation of how to succeed in their future professional careers.

As defined and detailed by the United States Department of Labor, networking involves conversing with friends, family members and acquaintances about short-term goals, current interests and greatest, long-term aspirations. This system is not only how most people learn about job opportunities, but how they land prospective positions as well. As told by the department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, “Even if a position is not currently available, networking can lead to informational interviews that can help you not only learn about possible career paths, but also be great exposure for you to be thought of as a potential candidate when a job opens up.”

In addition, a comprehensive analysis of career networking was conducted in the 2009 study, “Effects of networking on career success: A longitudinal study.” Hans-Georg Wolff, Ph.D., and Klaus Moser, Ph.D., from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg observed variables such as internal vs. external networking and building vs. maintaining vs. utilizing contacts and how they relate to future salary and career satisfaction over a three-year period.

Results showed that participants’ levels of networking were associated with their current salaries as well as a trend of salary growth over time. Other findings included how networking was also linked to career satisfaction, which remained stable over time and how establishing internal networks was deemed more important than building external ones. Overall, the process is considerably worth the investment for one’s future career.

Specific advice for teens

Cornell University researched and concluded that 80 percent of available jobs are not actually advertised. This hidden job market is an untapped pool of possibility and networking is the primary strategy to access it. Teens attempting to enter the workforce with this inside knowledge will gain an extra edge when it comes to career stability and satisfaction. In short, learning how to network is an essential skill to gain.

Also, according to a survey conducted by ExecuNet, 77 percent of recruiters reported using online search engines to screen job applicants. In fact, 35 percent of the same recruiters said that they passed on candidates based on their background information available on the Internet. If an adolescent has a social media account, his or her personal webpage will most likely show up on a basic search of their name. It is important teens practice professional networking in all aspects of their self image, especially with information publically available on the Internet.

Sometimes the excess stress of one’s prospective career or current workplace environment can lead to a serious anxiety disorder or even substance abuse. If you or a teen in your life needs professional support, contact Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego over the phone or visit us online to learn about accessible and customizable treatment options.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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