Networking: Why It’s Important & Tips on How to Do It Well.

 

Networking. We should all do it. We all mean to do it. But why is it so important to both our personal lives and our careers?

Not only does networking grow your circle and help you strengthen your relationships and friendships, but it can also help you search for and lock down jobs and other professional opportunities. In fact, 80% of jobs are never actually advertised—they’re filled by word-of-mouth before companies ever get the chance to put it out there. So change your perspective and step out of your comfort zone.

Remember that networking isn’t just for finding a new job, but it’s also a fundamental way to expand your potential customer base, and word of mouth referrals.

Networking. It’s not what you think it is.

Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. There are some intense connotations that come with networking, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Sure, things can be awkward at first, but if you keep it casual, personal and professional, you’re likely to make strong connections. Remember that networking isn’t a soulless exchange of information or a business card. It’s a conversation. It’s relationship building.

Here are 4 simple questions that will help you jumpstart great conversations, and that people will be excited to answer (via TheMuse.com)

Networking helps you develop your skills.

This should be a no brainer! Shift your perspective and think of networking as practice.

Practice in communicating, pitching, explaining what you do, starting conversations, getting to know people, and making you a stronger individual.

You can help others.

Have you ever stopped to consider what networking with others can do for them? Think about your existing connections, your abilities and talents. There are so many ways in which you can be of service to others. If it helps, think about what you’re providing someone else when networking.

The opportunities are everywhere.

Truly. Put the phone down. Smile at the person next to you in line to grab a coffee or at the grocery store. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on an airplane. Odds are you have something in common, or possess skills that complement one another. It can be scary to initiate conversations with strangers, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by not trying.

You have to connect to be successful. Personally. On social media. Everywhere.

It’s just the world we live in today. So don’t be afraid! Or be afraid and push through it anyway. Commit to one professional networking opportunity a month, or make a personal goal to find three new connections every few weeks.

There are so many ways you can make networking work for you. However you do it, we’re just happy that you’re out there! As always, contact us with any questions you might have—we provide great networking opportunities with our classes and workshops!