Active networking is vital to career growth. Often confused with selling, networking is actually about building long-term relationships and a good reputation over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return.
Your network includes everyone from friends and family to work colleagues and members of groups to which you belong. Here are some key benefits of networking:
1. Strengthens relationships
Networking is about sharing, not taking. It is about forming trust and helping one another toward goals. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship. By doing this, you sow the seeds for reciprocal assistance when you need help to achieve your goals.
2. Source of fresh ideas
Your network can be an excellent source of new perspectives and ideas to help you in your role. Exchanging information on challenges, experiences and goals is a key benefit of networking because it allows you to gain new insights that you may not have otherwise thought of. Similarly, offering helpful ideas to a contact is an excellent way to build your reputation as an innovative thinker.
3. Raises your profile
Being visible and getting noticed is a benefit of networking that’s essential in career building. Regularly attending professional and social events will help to get your face known. You can then help to build your reputation as knowledgeable, reliable and supportive by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.
4. Opens new doors
Expanding your contacts can open doors to new opportunities for business, career advancement, personal growth, or simply new knowledge. Active networking helps to keep you top of mind when opportunities such as job openings arise and increases your likelihood of receiving introductions to potentially relevant people or even a referral.
5. Facilitates exchange of information
Networking is a great opportunity to exchange best practice knowledge, learn about the business techniques of your peers and stay abreast of the latest industry developments. A wide network of informed, interconnected contacts means broader access to new and valuable information.
6. Widens support network
Gaining the advice of experienced peers is an important benefit of networking. Discussing common challenges and opportunities opens the door to valuable suggestions and guidance. Offering genuine assistance to your contacts also sets a strong foundation for receiving support in return when you need it.