Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back throughout the course of your career your life. Networking will help you develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development. Here are some of the reasons why you should get out and start networking!
1. New Opportunities
Networking can make you more visible and open new doors. If you’re looking for a job, you can be approached by potential top recruiters about job opportunities or get noticed by people who would like to work with you. The opportunities that could be presented are endless and you’ll never know what can advance your career. These opportunities may not only be in the form of a new job, it could also mean meeting someone important in the industry that can change the course of your career with a simple conversation.
2. Grow Your Support Network
Networking helps build a resourceful support system that you can look to and rely on through every stage of your career and even in your personal life. Meeting new people allows you to grow and expand your network, and these relationships could add value to you and the other person down the road, not only that you can refer people you meet to others and help them out too.
3. Develop Communication and People Skills
Getting out there and talking to people can develop your communication and interpersonal skills and improve how you interact with others. Knowing people, being asked about your opinions and ideas and getting asked to introduce people can be quite the social thrill, and it’s exactly what you need if you are an introvert who’s looking to advance themselves in a cut-throat business environment. If you tend to be on the shyer or reserved side, networking can help you get over your initial shyness by talking to people, and it can be done on your own terms. Networking is not like entering a high-school cafeteria, everyone is there for a greater purpose and it usually is to support one another and contribute to each other’s success.
4. Networking Builds Your Career
Building a strong network can help you get ahead in your career in more ways than one. The most obvious way networking helps build your career is that most people look to their networks first when hiring or looking for contractors or consultants. In fact, 57 percent of jobs are filled through a networking contact, and employee referrals and networking sites are two of the top ways companies report finding candidates to fill open positions. The reason for this is simple: there’s a much greater employee retention rate for employees who were hired as a result of networking—eight years on average with a referral, as opposed to four years without. You can expect to earn about 6 percent more when you are hired as a result of a referral, as well.
5. Meet People in Person
If you look around today, you see most people on their phones, laptops, or tablets and interacting online through various Social Media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Although these are excellent tools to use for communicating with people in this digital age, they do not substitute or come close to meeting and interacting with people in person. A lot of business is still done on a handshake basis; therefore, you should network face to face whenever possible to reap the most benefits.
6. Active Listening
The most effective networking groups operate as exchanges of business information, ideas, and support. The most important skill for effective business networking is listening and focusing on how you can help the person you are listening to rather than on how he or she can help you is the first step to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
7. Cultivate Relationships
Don’t overextend yourself and join too many groups. You won’t be able to effectively cultivate strong relationships and be an active participant if you spread yourself too thin. Start off by joining one or two groups that you think would be best for you and be an active participant by contributing your ideas and brining something of value to the group. A strong contact referral group such as BNI or Meetups, whose purpose is for members to find and exchange referrals, operates very differently than a community service club such as Rotary International whose primary purpose is to serve the community. Do your research and see what the purpose of the event or group is to see if you would get any value.
8. Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to do a lot of the legwork of all types of networking. As a social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn helps you keep up with what everyone in your network is doing and provides a forum to discuss important business ideas and develop yourself professionally by learning about things outside your regular role. LinkedIn is no longer just an online resume site; you get what you put into it.
Using the "Find Nearby" Feature
We're always exploring new ways to help our members build professional relationships. The Find Nearby feature enables you to find other LinkedIn members around you by using your mobile device.With Find Nearby you’ll be able to network more efficiently, as you’ll see people who also have the feature enabled and who are within your Bluetooth range. The feature works well at conferences and events to help you locate people in your proximity.
For your privacy, you'll need to opt-in to use this feature and enable Bluetooth sharing. When Find Nearby is turned on, other members can discover you, even when you aren’t using the LinkedIn mobile app. To prevent other members from discovering you, switch the Find Nearby feature off.
“LinkedIn Help.” Using the "Find Nearby" Feature | LinkedIn Help, www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/75689/using-the-find-nearby-feature?lang=en.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help you give your employees everything they need to be successful in networking.