It is very much understandable if networking isn’t a top priority for everyone. It requires skill, time, energy, and even money too. And more often than not, it is not as easy as people would think!
Networking involves not only developing, but also maintaining connections with individuals—and later, mutually benefiting from this relationship. Although there has been a shift in behavior, networking is often overlooked by most, while being an essential tool for career development and job hunt.
Here are the reasons we should build great network when it comes to our future:
Opens up new doors of opportunities
Networking makes you more visible.
Hence, it opens new doors. You never know what other people might offer, and expanding your contact might just lead you to new opportunities. Let it be for business, career enhancement, personal growth, or simply new knowledge.
You could be approached by a company with a job offer.
Or you could meet someone who is looking for a freelancer of your particular skill.
Whether or not you would want to go through those doors, at least you have already taken the first step by presenting those doors in front of you and opening them.
Point being, you have nothing to lose!
Strengthen your business connections
Just like tango, it takes two (or more!) to network.
Networking is not just about taking, it’s about sharing. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that is based on trust to help one another achieve their goals. You have to build that sense of trust by regularly engaging your contact in stimulating discussions. Furthermore, you could also strengthen your relationship by finding opportunities in which you can help the other person, that way your contact will reciprocate your assistance when you’re the one needing help.
Advance your career
Getting to know more and more people gives you exposure.
It could be in the form of:
- New knowledge
- Invitations to seminars or workshops
- And even to new hang out buddies!
By regularly attending events and constantly hanging out with the right people, you can build up your reputation of being knowledgeable, resourceful, reliable, trustworthy, and supportive. Not to mention all the seminar invitations that you get from hanging out and maintaining your business connection, you can really use that experience to polish yourself.
Networking also teaches you to negotiate.
And yes, it could be dreading most of the time.
Negotiating may not be everyone’s forte, but it really is important if you want to advance your career! It takes a lot of practice, and one effective way to do it is by networking.
Get career advice & support
Not every workplace offers mentorship. Sometimes, they already expect you to excel at your job, doesn’t matter if you have already had experience or not.
Does that scenario applies to you?
Although more and more offices are getting friendlier to newbies these days, still, getting mentorship from someone who has more experience than you is great!
Plus, if they are not from your office, you could spare the formalities and just gain advice from them over coffee where it’s a lot more comfortable.
Besides, once work gets overwhelming, you could always ask your contacts for support. If you maintain a good relationship, they would be glad to give the support that you need—let it be solutions to your problems or simply a pair of ears to listen—who knows, maybe they are on the same boat as you.
Not only that, but you could also gain this benefit of networking when you don’t have a job yet. Go out and talk to people about your particular interests, maybe they share the same one or two interests as you, and perhaps they also have more expertise, that way you could seek advice.
Get inspired by new ideas
No matter if you work behind a desk from nine to five, or just with your laptop in the nearest coffee shop, or even in a studio where you have to visualise ideas for a living, your mind has its own limit.
Sometimes ideas rain on you, and some other time it is barely drizzling and you are as dry as the Sahara!
If you have good networking skills with a long list of contacts, you would not have to worry on where do you look for new inspirations and ideas. Even when you think it is unlikely, you will never know, perhaps they could provide you with some unique insights that could help you with your problem when you are feeling uninspired.
Obtain more resources
The art of networking is that your contacts will interconnect with someone else’s.
The world could really be a small place.
This way, getting information gets so much easier. If you have a case you cannot solve at work, or research you simply could not finish, you could simply discuss it with someone, either over coffee, or on an online forum. Sometimes, even Google couldn’t answer your question.
If you play your cards right, you could really benefit from your connections to solve a puzzle that has been making you sleepless for days.
Find a job you would love
If you haven’t been lucky enough to score yourself some offers that you actually are passionate about…
If you have great networks, finding a job that you love would be much easier than if you don’t. As mentioned before, networking takes you places. You get to connect with people you have never met, you get to know people from different backgrounds as you, and so on and so forth.
This diversity in contacts could land you something that you would actually love, or maybe even throw it onto your lap. Your friend might offer it to you, or your interconnected business contacts might be looking for someone of your expertise and passion.
Especially in the social media age like today, getting to know people’s skills and interests is not hard anymore, and you could even announce yours to the public.
Exchange fresh perspectives
Doing the same job and the same routine five to six days a week could make you end up in a rut.
Being stuck in the same state of mind for a long time is not good because it will coop you up.
This is where networking could help you.
If you have multiple connections with people from different kinds of backgrounds, people who aren’t working in the same fields as you, people who did not study the same major as you back in university, you would be enriched with different kinds of perspectives. It is always a good thing to think of a problem from multiple angles.
One of the ways to help with that is by connecting with different people and being engaged in conversations with them. Think of a topic and discuss it together.
The more your answers vary, the better!
Just remember to always respect other people’s opinions.
Boost your confidence
Networking does not only benefit you on a professional level, it also benefit you personally.
We all can agree to the fact that networking is not easy.
You have to constantly be outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. By doing so, not only that you are making invaluable experiences, but you are also sharpening your social skills and self confidence.
Not many people have what it takes to live in a cut-throat business environment, but if you are used to networking and have great connections, you are halfway through. Some people might not realize, but confidence is an essential key to be able to compete with other professionals.
People who are confident are charismatic, as they can use their charm to their own advantage. This is because they have had a lot of practice with social thrills when they network.
Develop long-lasting personal relationship
In order to obtain highly valuable advantages from networking, you have to closely maintain your relationship with your contacts by either helping them or just hanging out with them.
Another personal gain that you would get from it is to actually develop a long-lasting personal relationship. Some may overlook this as a major benefit, but we could not rule this out from being one of the awesome perks if you are great at networking.
Your work connections could be someone who will be very valuable for you because often they are the people who share the same interests as you and concerned about the same issues as you.
Because of the fact that your contacts are most probably people who are like-minded and share similar goals as your own, it is not unlikely to connect with those people on a personal level.
To simplify, networking is about investing in your relationships—let it be time and/or energy, and not just about reaching out in times of crisis.
If you managed to develop good networks, all the time and energy in the world would be worth it because you would benefit from it in the long run. Networking is crucial for the development of your career, and it is also great for your personal growth. However, to achieve greatness, both professionally and personally, you must be able to step out of your comfort zone and start connecting with others and maintaining those connections. Your time is indeed valuable, so make sure you’re doing things that are right for you.
Remember, your network is your net worth!