20 Jun Benefits of Networking on Career growth
The importance of career networking cannot be discounted for a fact, career networking should become a part of daily work and career-related endeavours. It should be in place for when you need it, both for job searching and for moving along the career ladder. It makes sense to have an active career network, even if you do not need it today.
Networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return. Good networking has a basis of trust and support – and can mean the difference between a mediocre career and a phenomenal one. Here are some of the most important things to remember when it comes to networking.
- Quality over Quantity
The size of your Network is not so highly significant in itself; it is the quality of the contacts that count. Particularly making connections with senior-level prospects (obviously) but also ‘influencers’ who are connected with prospects in your sector. Another set of connection will be your colleagues and contemporaries; never take them for granted, your network is surely your networth.
- It is a two-way street.
Building a network is like a life-long road where everyone you had direct or indirect contact with shares a portion of the road you walk. Past or present work colleagues, classmates, acquaintances you know from your personal life, people from religious activities, gym, teachers or professors, anyone you meet and have a productive, professional conversation about your career path.
Be ever ready to introduce yourself and share a career opinion, engage in intellectual discussions and engage in volunteering.
- Start where you are
Get yourself out there. Take up something for leisure to meet new people who have similar interests as you. If you are stuck on ideas, consider finding out where like-minded people like you are spending their time. As you are probably aware, malls, shops, hangouts or restaurants cater to different groups. If you are in HR, for example, then find out the locations where the PR professionals usually hang out. Remember, people are more relaxed in social settings, so it is one of the best chances to strike up a conversation.
Another chance to network is maximizing your social media presence. LinkedIn, Facebook, and a variety of other online platforms can help you get in touch with others at specific companies, people with college affiliations or in a certain geographic area. Taking an active interest in the new contact.
When networking with people you do not know, be sure of what you want and be specific in what you ask for.
- Get direct contacts
Take a look at your mobile phone contact list, how valuable are your contacts? How many “Go-to” persons can you contact as soon as possible or even contact via an email? Network is a relationship built on trust; it breeds on results and relevance, so building your network from a simple connect to career enhancing leads is essential to growing your network.
Quick one! Always have a complimentary card available to give out to people you meet and don’t be shy to give it out.
- Exchange value
“How can I add value to this relationship?” That should be the first question that crosses your mind when making a new connection, whether online or in person. Unfortunately, most people think the exact opposite by asking themselves, “What can this relationship offer me?” That outlook generally produces the least amount of results.
As noted earlier, networking is a two-way street. If you come across an interesting article, a relevant job listing or opportunity, share it with your network. Though the point of having a career network is to have resources which will benefit your development, but you should always reciprocate whenever you can.
Keep in touch with your network regularly – even if it is just a brief email to say hello and to ask how they are doing. People are more willing to help when they know you also are.
- Never burn bridges.
As your Network-reach increases, there will always be an evaluation. You may realize that some people’s influence or relevance has reduced or not as important as a new person you just met or work with. However, that is no excuse to burn bridges. You still want to maintain the relationship because you never know when that person could be of assistance again.
As you can see, career networking really does work and it is important to have a viable network in place throughout your career and to use your network to your advantage when job searching or exploring career options because your Network determines your Networth.
To build a career in HR visit the HR Refinery page.
New to this site? Start here