Professional networking is all about building personal connections and developing authentic relationships. It’s more than just shaking people’s hands and exchanging business cards. It takes time to build relationships and trust, just like any friendship and personal connection. Networking is a valuable tool that might come in handy in the future.
Why is networking valuable?
Networking enables you to develop professional contacts. Building a strong network of like-minded individuals can inspire you and lead to new opportunities. It can also challenge you and the way you think, which can help you achieve your career goals.
The more people you know, the more connections you have, and the more colleagues you have as a support team. Having connections in the same industry means you have others that can understand and relate to your work situation, the challenges you might be facing, and can help problem solve and motivate you.
People in your network can also become your mentors, who can help you move up the career ladder. Knowledge sharing is one of the many benefits of networking. Your support team can share their expertise and knowledge with you and give you tips and advice on best practices within the industry.
Another benefit of networking is that people can give you job recommendations or refer you to someone they know. If there’s a company you want to work for, chances are someone in your network knows someone who has a connection in the company. Networking can connect you to jobs that might not have been advertised yet or even put you in the spotlight for a job that doesn’t yet exist.
Where can you network?
Networking can happen through peers, business partners, clients or mentors. No matter where you are – at a party, dinner, conference, work event or lunch – there is always an opportunity to network. What matters most is that you continue to build on these relationships through social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, or keep in touch via email or catch up over a coffee.
When networking, be a good listener, be comfortable with rejection, be genuinely nice to everyone you meet, and follow up with the people you connect with.
Types of networking events
You may not reap the benefits of networking straight away but it will help with your long-term career success, and you can start today!