Networking is the best avenue to transform your career for the better – here’s how.
As much as we want to pull a one man show, in this era, a lot of us are dependent on contacts and a good network to actually succeed in life. Networking doesn’t have to be awkward – and no, it’s not about selling yourself or pitching ideas to everyone new you meet.
Instead, professional networking lies more in building relationships and trust with people in the same or similar industry – it could even be in a field you intend on working in. Networking is important and vital for career growth. Here’s a quick example:
One of my friends, Estelle (not real name) was just starting her career in a HR and administrative job which entailed a one-year contract. The contract mentioned that if she was well-performing employee, there was a chance that the she could be extended for one more year.
Estelle was happy working in this job and made it a point to make her one year-contract worth it. She befriended her colleagues, took full responsibility in her job and showed her capabilities of performing well. With her excellent job etiquette, her contract was extended one more year.
However, in the midst of her second year in the company, her job title became obsolete. Her superior had given her a 2 months’ notice, saying that she should keep an eye out for other job opportunities. Estelle felt badly about this as she believed that she aligned with her company’s goals and did not want to start over somewhere new just yet.
She confided in her boss about the situation. Her boss quickly pulled his contacts and network, explaining her situation to them. Because Estelle had been well-liked by her peers in the company and they had seen her positive work attitude, her superiors linked her to a new job opening in the company. The job had not even been listed in public yet. The best part? There was a promotion to her job title and an increase in her salary!
Her story goes to show that building cordial and trusting relationships with the people around you could prove to be beneficial to you when the right time comes!
In this article, we break down the benefits of networking.
1. Raising Your Profile
Having a good network makes you noticeable in the long-run. In Estelle’s example, if she was an ordinary employee, who just got by and never made lasting relationships in her workplace, her appeal and problem would not have been noticed by her higher-ups – and she most-likely would not have gotten another job in the same company.
This goes to show that seeking publicity and leveraging on networking proves to be beneficial because it makes you more noticeable. Standing out and being known for your capabilities and work ethic allows you to create partnerships that can help with your career growth.
2. Gaining More Knowledge
Think of networking as an additional resource library. The more well-connected you are with individuals in your industry, the more resources you have available to you. For example, if you are in the marketing industry and you’ve made several acquaintances in that field, when you network, it becomes an opportunity to share ideas and see the strategies that are working or not working for other companies. With this new available information, you can adopt a new plan on how to expand your company’s marketing sector.
It gets easy to get into a rut in your work place when you get used to the routine of your job. Networking opens up a platform for creativity and innovation. Insights from people of the same or similar industry gives you the opportunity to discover angles that you haven’t already thought of or heard.
3. Gateway into Future Job/Business Opportunities
Expanding your contacts could mean that you have dips on the latest job/business opportunities in the industry. In Estelle’s case, her strong connections with her employers made her a viable candidate for a new job opening that she wasn’t even aware of!
Active networking could mean that you are a relevant candidate when new job openings arise and that you will get referrals – making your chances of securing your dream job even higher!
So how do you start networking? Well, the easiest step would be to start getting active and connected on your social media accounts. Follow your friends, colleagues and companies that you are interested in, to keep up with the latest updates. Post weekly on LinkedIn, it will help you find a job and connect with people from the same field.
Don’t miss out on social events and gatherings – it’s the best place to meet new people. While networking might seem awkward and scary at first, with enough momentum, you’ll find that it becomes second nature.