Networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial business relationship with other, likeminded businesspeople. Through doing so, you open the door to future job opportunities and contacts.
Thankfully, networking is easier than ever and can be achieved through a range of mediums.
- Professional conferences and events – virtual or face-to-face
- Online platforms such as LinkedIn
- Communicating with friends and known associates.
Here are 5 ways that networking helps you develop both personally and professionally:
Connect with different types of mentors and advisors
Through networking you open yourself up to the opportunity of meeting people in a variety of roles – including those potentially more senior and experienced than yourself. When you do, it’s important not to shy away from their seniority.
Communicating with more senior professionals can often lead to the possibility of mentorship, different to that which you receive at work. Whether it’s by taking the time to learn from them through one-to-one sessions, or simply staying in touch and heeding any advice they offer over time, having an extra insight into what it takes to hold a senior position will be hugely beneficial as you look to develop your career.
If you’re regularly sent off on networking missions (whether virtual or face-to-face) by senior management, and consistently return with new business prospects and relationships, you’re bound to impress the powers that be. Being more visible to senior management will help ensure you’re both appreciated throughout your organisation and remain fresh in their mind for future opportunities.
So, while regularly attending conferences and other events can take up a lot of your time, and can be more tricky in a virtual world, they can help you become more noticeable with the key decision makers. This in turn will drastically improve your prospects of promotion and general career progression.
Develop your expertise
Naturally, when you’re regularly surrounding yourself with other professionals from a range of industries and backgrounds, you’re putting yourself in the best possible position to improve your knowledge in a given business area or sector.
By successfully networking and creating new business relationships, you’ll often find yourself at the heart of insightful conversations. You can use these to learn more about your industry, and discover new skills and avenues of development that you want to be involved in. Even if you’re the most senior person in your organisation, you’re never in a position where you can’t learn something new from a likeminded professional.
Improve your soft skills
When early on in your career, it’s often using the soft skills that people find most challenging. Thankfully, networking is the perfect way to hone your soft skills and become more comfortable when interacting with other people.
Whether you’re adapting to the people and situation at an online event, maintaining a business relationship you’ve recently started or trying to become more confident when communicating in person – networking utilises a whole range of soft skills. By developing your personal attributes and skills, you put yourself in good stead to improve professionally as a result.
Develop long-lasting relationships:
By becoming a familiar face within networking circles, either in LinkedIn groups, networks inside your organisation or at larger online conferences, you’ll build long-lasting relationships with fellow professionals and increase your influence and reach within the professional world.
By doing so, you could open doors into sectors and organisations that you wouldn’t previously have had access to. So, when it comes to looking for your next career move, having an extensive and engaged network can pay dividends through the power of word-of-mouth and referrals. Remember, landing your dream job could all come down to the first impression you make, and the working relationship you create through networking.
- Networking is now easier and more accessible than ever – there’s no excuse not to do it!
- Networking is crucial to both your professional and personal development
- Build a network that’s founded upon mutually beneficial relationships with the ‘right’ people