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Being 'social' is essential to your career success

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“You must network” is a message that we all hear all the time. But if you’ve asked yourself whether you really need to spend precious time on that effort, consider these scary statistics:

  • Research suggests that as many as 60 per cent of job opportunities are not advertised.
  • In 2010, 42 per cent of new jobs were found through networking.
  • Most experts agree that 60 per cent of time spent during a job hunt should be devoted to networking, not responding to job adverts or polishing a CV.

Nurturing relationships is therefore a very important weapon in the armoury of the career-minded project management professional. Its value cannot be underestimated and it is not a single activity. So, what practical steps can you take?

One place to begin is to build a professional profile on LinkedIn and Facebook. Recruitment agencies constantly use LinkedIn to source quality candidates. In fact, a recent social recruiting survey by applicant tracking system Jobvite stated that 94 per cent of job recruiters use LinkedIn (up from 78 per cent in 2010). The same survey suggested that 66 per cent of recruiters use Facebook, and 52 per cent use Twitter.

How else can you network? Well, APM provides part of the solution by organising hundreds of events, which means there is no excuse not to take part. I recently met Emma Arnaz-Pemberton, chair of its PMO SIG committee. Like all the committed APM volunteers, she invests a great deal of time and effort, but states that: “The biggest gain from being involved is the networking opportunities.”

Yes, it might take one or two evenings a month, but surely your career is worth this investment? Managers look to make confident hiring decisions. They do not want to take risks. The realisation that “Oh yes, I met that candidate at an event last year” immediately increases your chances of success. With that in mind, it’s time to engage.

Vince Hines is managing director at Wellingtone Project Management, an APM career development partner.

Other blogs in this series:

Find out more about starting / developing a career in project management


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  1. Vince Hines
    Vince Hines 04 May 2016, 12:18 PM

    Thaks for the comments Sonal, Carol and "Freedes" - useful tips.  In reference to the point about being social (going to the pub) with work colleagues - there is a balance.  Its difficult to give a view that isn't too sweeping or general but I would focus on being social outside your immediate circle.  If you work with people everyday and have a good relationship with them the value of spending hours in the pub must be diminished (in the context of this article...).  Going and meeting people from other organistions will be more useful from a networking perspective.  Of course, this does not acknowledge the point about becoming the BFF of your line manager / Director who's looking to promote someone.  We all know we shouldn't need to...but actually a better approach might be to ensure they get full visibility of your successes at work.  Your professionalism should shine through...not your ability to do Tequila shots  :-)   ...for the record I max out at 6.

  2. Freda Muyambo
    Freda Muyambo 08 February 2016, 11:09 AM

    When I look back upon my career I can truthfully say that probably all of my job roles were obtained as a result of my professional relationships; whether I learned of an opportunity through a university lecturer, hounded a recruiter for 18 months, via a referral and direct introduction or through a good reference from one of my clients. I do wonder whether some opportunities pass me by because I keep my networking strictly professional. I know we have a massive "after work" pub culture in the UK, and my concern is that I miss opportunities because I do not make it a priority to attend such "social" events, yet, the unwritten truth is that many contracts and job offers are exchanged at such events. I am not questioning whether or not this is enthical or unethical, but should being "social" include such events such as the weekly pub crawl with work mates?

  3. Sonal Shah
    Sonal Shah 05 March 2015, 10:06 AM

    Vince - I really liked and could not agree more with your blog.In your career it is always essential to network and be social I am amazed at how much this has been worth the time.  It enables you to learn more through others, helps when you apply for roles if people know you or assists you to get noticed before even sending your details.  Not to mention the power of LinkedIn I was amazed when was approached for a previous role which was over two years ago - that they were bothering to looking at my Linked in profile after receiving my CV.  Linked In continues to grow in use by all out there.Have also found APM a great place for their events and have attended many of their local and national events and learned so much through speakers and more from the social aspect and networking that takes place at the actual events.  APM are doing a grand job of organising regular events all over the UK whether national or local and there is much to gain from them when you can.   So happy 'socialising' to all!

  4. Craig Mccoy
    Craig Mccoy 07 December 2016, 07:22 AM

    Yes, I completely agree with the fact that, being social will bring several kinds of positive changes and a good result for our career growth. In social issues, we have found opportunities to meet people, organizations, firms and several other sources from where; we are able to develop our career opportunity. So, being social is really beneficial for our career growth. Thanks for such a wonderful post.