Just the mere thought of networking is dreadful for many people. Such individuals often believe that this activity is unnecessary. Others feel anxious about the possibility of putting themselves forward to strangers with the hopes of accelerating their careers.
However, there is no denying that networking leads to results. The Balance cited a survey which said that 70 percent of people were able to acquire jobs through their connections. It was also revealed that 80 percent of professionals believe that networking is key to a successful career. Additionally, 61 percent felt that it is possible to find new job opportunities through regular online interactions with their professional networks.
To understand further, let’s discuss the reasons why you should allot effort into networking.
It can help you find a job. In most cases, it is easier to find a job through your networks. One of the biggest advantages of a broad network is that it allows you to find out about job opportunities even before they are made open to the general public. Knowing about these opportunities earlier than everyone else puts you at the forefront of the list of candidates.
It allows you to get a better understanding of the industry you want to enter. Some students experience a culture shock when they enter a profession and realize that it’s very different from what they learned at school. Menlo Coaching suggests talking to other professionals who are already experienced in the industry to get a better feel of what a typical day is like in the field. If you are looking at working for a certain company, talking with its current employees will allow you to understand the organization’s culture, including if it would suit your skills and personality.
It allows you to get guidance from experts. If you’re just starting out in the industry, getting guidance from veterans will help you avoid mistakes as you make your way up the corporate ladder. In addition, building a network may lead you to people who can help you find your way around the profession you want to enter. Business Insider says that this can come in the form of mentors who can teach you the ropes of the business; or professionals who can tell you more about the industry.
Don’t just build networks in situations where you are expected to do so, as is the case at networking events. Adopt a networking lifestyle, in which you keep your mind open to the possibility of connecting with people anytime and anywhere. This is important, because you don’t know for sure if the people you meet at events are the ones who can point you in the right direction, career-wise.
As a reminder, networking – like any other facet of your career – takes time. Don’t expect to have several career-related opportunities fall on your lap after you attend a three-day networking event. Forbes emphasized that it will take time and effort for you to build your network. Making acquaintances isn’t enough; you need to build relationships so people will get to know you better and recognize your skills. Keep in touch even if you don’t need anything from them, especially during special occasions such as their birthday.
With all that being said, it is important not to adopt a mercenary attitude when it comes to building a network. Help Guide reminds everyone that networking is a two-way street: you do not just go up to a person with the sole purpose of using him/her as leverage. Again, the key is to think of networking as building relationships. As with your family and your friends, you need to exert effort and have the patience to get to know them better. The important thing is to be genuine all throughout, otherwise, you will come off as insincere. This will make it less likely for you to get help – or build a good connection in the first place.
****Thanks to Asha Shello for this excellent post!!****