NUMEROUS surveys on career choices and transition show that job tenure is shrinking.
On a global basis as well as in Singapore, average job tenure has gone down from seven to six years, according to DBM, a global human capital management consulting firm that surveys professionals in transition each year.
Statistics now show that employees will find themselves in the midst of a job change at least eight times in their lifetime.
Whether this inevitable event is a success depends on the depth and breadth of their personal network.
In addition to recruitment advertisements in print and online, networking is a very effective way to land a new position.
Every year for the last five years in Singapore, DBM research has consistently shown networking to be the source of 60 per cent of all new jobs.
It is always the right time to build networks — whether you are looking for a job or gainfully employed. In the hurried pace of life in Singapore, it can be easy to neglect or avoid networking, but it is vital to your long-term career success.
Here are a few tips for successful networking:
Networking is not a process of asking for a job or passing around your resumé. It is about relationship building, information sharing and making long-term career connections.
Do your homework. Get to know your network contacts, their companies and their industries. Try to maintain a 90/10 ratio of research to actual contact time. That is, for every 10 minutes spent with a contact, try to support that with up to 90 minutes of research on the contact and his company and industry. It will help you take charge and be a value-added contributor to the conversation.
Consider your personal network. Think of all the people you come into contact with on a regular basis, from your family to your doctor. These relationships are invaluable door openers to expanding your industry network.
Join professional associations and become an active member. Membership and active involvement in an association’s activities can open the door to new job opportunities.
Join chambers of commerce such as the BritCham or AmCham, and professional organisations, such as the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore, or the Singapore Human Resources Institute if you are an HR professional.
They offer many opportunities to network and meet people in various industries through monthly meetings, informal dinners and business seminars.
Keep on learning. Consider taking management and executive development courses to enhance your career development and network.
Promote and publicise your achievement within the company. As Singapore is host to many multinational companies with regional and global operations, it gives employees the opportunity to excel and be model employees to their overseas counterparts.
By promoting your achievement in high-profile and successful projects in Singapore, you will open up opportunities for possible overseas posting or lateral movement within the company or even a promotion.
Update your address book regularly. In this age of constant job churn, it pays to make a social call or to send a short e-mail message every now and then to a select number of people who may be able to give you referrals or job leads.
Use direct marketing to your advantage. Direct marketing need not be limited to large companies bombarding consumers with flyers and product brochures.
With some creativity and thorough research, you can put direct marketing to good use by targeting companies or industries you want to get into.
Depending on the nature of your target company, explore different ways of catching their attention and do not limit yourself to the traditional letter of application.
Whether you are looking for a job, considering self-employment or just keeping your options open, networking is a life-long skill that will help you at any stage of your career development.
No matter which outlets you choose to tap, the key to success in networking is to stay active and keep your networks working for you!