WORKING THE ROOM

Survey Shows Increased Emphasis on Business Networking

MENLO PARK, CA -- The saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know" is gaining new importance in today's workplace. In a recent nationwide survey, 85 percent of workers polled said the emphasis on business networking has increased over the last five years. And while more than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents said they are very comfortable "working the room" at networking events, close to half (48 percent) said they feel only somewhat comfortable with this activity.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 525 men and women, all 18 years of age or older and employed full-time in professional environments.

Survey respondents were asked, "Do you think the emphasis on business networking has increased or decreased over the last five years?" Their responses:

Increased greatly 56%
Increased somewhat 29%
Not changed 5%
Decreased somewhat 4%
Decreased greatly 2%
Don't know/no answer 4%
100%

 

Survey respondents were also asked, "How comfortable do you feel at business networking events? When 'working a room,' do you feel ..."

Very comfortable 28%
Somewhat comfortable 48%
Somewhat uncomfortable 11%
Very uncomfortable 3%
Don't know/no answer 10%
100%

 

"Networking has long been an effective way for job seekers and sales professionals to expand their base of contacts," said Liz Hubler, executive director of OfficeTeam. "But today, workers at every stage of their career recognize the value of increasing their visibility in the business community. A well-established network can be a determining factor in your ability to adjust to changes in the job market and your profession."

Hubler offers the following five tips for successful networking:

  • Have a purpose. What's your primary professional goal? Getting promoted? Extending your skill set? Keep that objective top of mind to better focus your networking efforts.
     
  • Branch out. People in your industry and profession aren't the only valuable resources in your network. Everyone you meet has the potential to offer information that can help you in your career. Let friends and family members know you want to expand your base of contacts.
     
  • Practice your 15-second pitch. People at a networking event are likely to ask, "So, what do you do?" or "What brings you here tonight?" Have a brief response ready that invites - not ends - conversation. 
     
  • Be a resource. Don't consult your network only when you need something; call or e-mail contacts on a regular basis to offer your assistance, share a news article, or update them on your career progress.
     
  • Go it alone. Attend events by yourself, rather than bringing a friend or colleague. While this requires stepping out of your comfort zone initially, you are likely to meet more people with this approach. 

OfficeTeam will present a webcast and live chat on networking tonight at 7 p.m. EDT at www.officeteamcareerclub.com. The webcast is part of a monthlong series, "Jumpstart Your Career," presented by OfficeTeam in recognition of Administrative Professionals Week, April 22-28.

OfficeTeam has over 285 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.


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