Networking is one of the most important resources in career development. Professional networks can help you build your career and give you the boost you need, especially if you are just starting out or need to make a career change. To grow your career and improve the chances of professional success, you should understand why networking is so important.
Networking: An Overview
In business and in your career, a network is simply creating professional relationships and keeping a list of people who can help your career. A network includes all the people you talk to and who can be important assets for career progression and guidance. It is important to understand that to have a beneficial network, you must also provide some value to the people in your network, so your professional relationship is not a one-way one.
To get the most out of your networking efforts, you must be proactive in seeking people to add to your network and work hard to maintain a beneficial network both for you and the people in your network.
It Makes You Noticeable
One important reason why networking is so important is that it makes you more noticeable. If you decide to create a professional network at your workplace, people will have you in mind when they have referrals, leads, mentoring opportunities as well as practical training opportunities. Maintaining a great professional relationship with your co-workers can also advance your career, especially if they are in a position to help you in your current career or can point you in the direction of better opportunities.
A workplace network can also provide opportunities for career advice and guidance. This advice and guidance can help you gain maturity and experience. Also, a coworker in your network can pass specific technical skills to you that make a huge difference for your consideration for an upcoming role.
When you create a network outside your workplace, you get an opportunity to showcase your skills and services to others. This creates room for partnerships, and these partnerships can go a long way in helping with career projection. The maturity you gain doing this can also help you learn to leverage your network so the people in your network can make you more visible to their associates and clients.
Access to New Opportunities
Once you are visible as discussed above, you are in a better place to access new opportunities. Individuals who have been networking for some time know the power of their networks to make new opportunities more accessible. This can be through meeting the right client at the right time, meeting people who are much higher above you in the pecking order or even meeting a mentor who makes a huge difference in your career by changing your career projection. All of these opportunities could be the stepping stone you need to change both your life and career.
High-quality Job Leads
Even when your network points you towards certain opportunities, you have to make sure they are high-quality job leads and that they are right for you. If you are well-connected to the right individuals, your connections are likely well-connected and well-established too. These well-established individuals are a lot more likely to provide you with high-quality leads, with better packages that you would get if your network did not include well-connected individuals. The result is high-wage, high-position opportunities.
It Allows for an Exchange of Ideas
It is almost impossible to know how much you know about a subject or how well-versed you are in a topic if you do not talk to other people. Success in any area of your career will often depend on how much you know, which grows out of the information or ideas gathered through interactions with other people in the past. Connections allow you to form a network through which an exchange of ideas happens, and it is this mutually beneficial exchange of ideas that help the development of long-term business and professional relationships. An exchange of ideas can help you both in your workplace and outside it and help you amass best practices that can help your career.
In the process of exchanging ideas, you can also show why having a professional relationship with you would be an asset for the people you are networking with. Networking can help you showcase the skills and expertise you have in a niche area that other businesspeople and leaders might find beneficial.
A respectful exchange of ideas also shows that it is not always about what you can get from the people you are talking to but also how they can benefit from you. Creating such mutually beneficial connections can lead to great career opportunities, opportunities that might never have existed if you did not prove why it is beneficial to maintain a professional relationship with you.
Reassessing Your Qualifications
Networking helps show you what other people are doing in their careers with similar qualifications as you. Networking helps you take a long hard look at where you are in your career, whether you are just starting or have been in that career for some time, and see whether you are where you’re supposed to be.
Comparing yourself to people with the same qualifications as you is allowed and is the first step in determining whether you are happy with your current level or not. It also allows you to talk to people who have risen to higher heights to see what less they can teach so you can get to the same level. By doing both of these, you place yourself in a better position for career development.
It Helps Make Job Searches Easier and Less Stressful
One of the things a lot of people do not realize is that there are so many positions that are filled using personal contacts. This often happens when a business leader knows someone in their contact list who would be a great fit for the positions they have available. This means, therefore, that if you are looking for a job, a strong network is one of your strongest assets. Your network can provide you with a lot of insights into applying for new positions, available opportunities, leads, reference letters, and more that help make your job search a lot less stressful and very successful.
One of the best assets to take advantage of is your social media professional network. If you tell your friends and contacts on social media that you are looking for work, the chances are high that at least one of your contacts knows of a position that would be a great fit for you. You can also send your resume to a social media contact who is in the field you are interested in, and they are likely to keep an eye out for fitting opportunities if you would be willing to do the same for them in the future.
Extra Career Resources
Some websites are built to answer questions about certain fields, while your professional network can be used to answer questions about your career. A specially curated network can be a great resource for finding out the latest trends in your industry. This gives you enough time to adapt so that if these trends become mainstream, you will be ready for the roles that come with these changes. This can be a huge career boost, especially if you can understand what is required ahead of time and be among the first people to be qualified for the new dispensation.
It Helps You Build Self-confidence
If you want to create a great professional network, you must be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Doing so can help you build self-confidence and social skills, both of which you can use to progress your career and throughout your professional life.
When you start networking, you will have to find ways to make yourself appear more interesting. Although this will be challenging at first, you will get better at it once you have been networking for some time. As you continue networking, you will learn a lot of things that will make you a lot more confident in your job.
Access To Career Advice and Support
If you have a great network, you can leverage it to receive the advice you need when you need it. The people in your network are likely more knowledgeable and experienced than you, and so they would be of great help to you. It is also likely that they have gone through the exact experiences you are going through and, therefore, have solutions and answers to any situation you may be in or answers you may have.
Remember that networking is also about offering advice when you are asked for it, and this is one of the best ways to build an even stronger network.
Having a strong network, especially when you are just starting your career, is very important. Your network can be a great source of advice and guidance in those early years, and it will be a great source of motivation and opportunities down the line. Remember to always give back to those in your network if you want to keep the network strong and intact.