The importance of networking in the workplace
You may assume that networking is an activity reserved for your time out of the office and off the clock, but nothing could be further from the truth. While there is much value in connecting with people who work at other companies or in different fields, don’t discount the importance of networking in the workplace. Whether you’re new to the company and want to get the lay of the land or you’re already established and have your sights set on a promotion, networking with your co-workers can be incredibly beneficial to your career progression.
As you develop relationships with those in your department and in other divisions, be on the lookout for potential mentors, upcoming professional development opportunities, or new job opportunities that are not publicly advertised. Click on the following link for tips to help you effectively network in the workplace.
The importance of networking in the job search
It goes without saying that networking is incredibly important during a job search. The right employee referral can increase your chances tenfold of landing the job. And, if you’re looking to make a career change, your professional network can support you by helping you find connections in the industry you are trying to break into or helping you find leads for jobs at specific companies.
Take the time to build meaningful relationships with those in your professional circle, so when the time comes to search for work, you can tap into those valuable connections for referrals, insights into job leads, and other valuable information.
How to become an effective networker
The importance of networking cannot be overstated. But how can you improve your networking skills to ensure you’re networking efficiently and effectively? These networking tips will help.
Figure out what networking style works best for you.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to networking. Different people are successful using different networking tactics. The key is to try out a number of different networking strategies to discover what best suits you. For instance, if you’re an introvert, you may prefer to network one-on-one over coffee or to attend more intimate events with fewer attendees. Once you’ve discovered your ideal networking style, consider where you can go to meet the right people who can help you achieve your current career-development goals.
Network outside the box
You don’t have to attend the traditional cocktail party in order to be a successful networker. Look for opportunities to network strategically in every facet of your life. Deena Baikowitz, Chief Networking Officer and co-founder of Fireball Network, suggests choosing events and organizations that matter to you.
“Start where you’re motivated to meet new people with common professional or personal interests,” Baikowitz advises. Think about what you’re passionate about and the types of people with whom you’re most comfortable. This could be your alma mater’s local chapter, a community organization, or a swim team. Baikowitz also suggests volunteering to find a new job or to advance your career:
“Volunteering is an excellent way to develop your network, show your value, learn about different career paths and opportunities, and to give back and do good.” It’s a win-win.
Make a game plan
While you don’t need to know exactly what you expect to get out of each networking opportunity, it’s important to head into each activity with a goal. For example, you may attend an event with the goal of connecting with three new people in your industry or bringing back one new insight to share with your co-workers.
It’s a simple task, yet many professionals neglect this critical step in the networking process. The time you invested in speaking with someone new won’t benefit your career development if you fail to follow up afterward. While you don’t need to send a long, heartfelt message immediately after meeting someone new, you should send a LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message sooner rather than later. Save the thoughtful message when you have something valuable to share or a specific reason to reach out.
Pay it forward
Look for opportunities to provide value to those in your network before you ask for help. The more you invest in your relationships, the more you’ll learn about your new connections and the easier it will be to offer assistance — and get it in return! The value you provide isn’t limited to the workplace; this could be anything from a hotel recommendation to an introduction to someone in your personal network.
Final thoughts on the importance of networking
It’s never too early — or too late — to invest in your network. The best way to improve your networking skills is to put yourself out there and give it a try. According to Baikowitz, “the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all.”
Article By Amanda Augustine, CPCC & CPRW at www.TopResume.com