The Importance of Networking

By Allison Tilt

According to UC Berkeley’s Law Blog, at least 70{5f0f57c44bc297437706deade099e6516fe1db1b31ab604b564d60e47f160dcd} of jobs come from network connections. Adding anecdotal evidence from my own experiences, a friend of mine who interned with a popular Washington-based agency (for privacy reasons, I’m leaving out specifics) said staff members asked current interns and other employees about applicants in order to narrow down the harrowing number of submissions.  If no one knew the applicant in question, the application was relegated to the bottom of a pile. The point being that who you know really does matter.

I think few people would disagree with this theory, especially in an economy where jobs continue to be in short supply.  Insert shameless plug here: Join WIIS.

WIIS is a professional network with 7000+ members focusing on the issues you feel passionate about.  Our members tend to be in the peace and security industries and they may struggle to find a balance between professional and personal lives just like you. Our network consists of members from all career stages, creating a diverse platform for discussions during our mentoring round-tables or other WIIS events.

Since I’ve joined the DC WIIS team, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people women.  Most notably Ambassador Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s Ambassador At-Large for Global Women’s Issues, discussed the importance of networks and mentoring for career advancement.  On a similar note, a World Bank study aimed primarily at developing countries’ parliamentary networks suggested that  networks succeeded in combating corruption (a primary goal for new democracies) by:

“providing peer support and political cover for those standing up against corruption, placing pressure on those supporting and tolerating it, and sharing lessons learned and best practices.”

I love that quote for its final phrase, “sharing lessons learned and best practices”.  Networks provide advice, guidance, support, and perhaps most importantly career advancement opportunities. In a month, I have met more women of consequence than I have in two years in Washington.

Click here to join WIIS.