Remember when you were a kid and you were so nervous on the first day of school? Maybe it was a brand new school and you didn’t know anyone yet; maybe it was a shift from elementary to middle school and you weren’t sure how you’d find your way around. What made it easier? Finding friends.
Networking is finding friends for adults. Our networks help us navigate our careers, including finding new opportunities to grow and learn. Our networks are the ways we find inspiration, learn skills and even help others to find their next job.
Yes, networking matters — a good network can help make a great career!
Here are other reasons why networking matters.
- Networking helps build your reputation. Like being popular in high school, a good professional network helps people know your name. If people are talking about you in a positive light, that will keep you top-of-mind when a position opens up in a company where someone in your network works. They can give you a glowing recommendation before you even apply, so hiring managers can be looking out for you or, at the very least, will have a little name recognition when your resume lands on their desk. Being well thought of goes a long way in a competitive job market.
- Networking can establish you as a knowledgeable person. The more people you talk to and share information with, the more people will know how much you know about your particular expertise. If you’re viewed as a go-to source of knowledge on a topic, that makes you something of an expert, which will further build your reputation as someone worth listening to on the subject. Companies want to hire experts!
- Networking helps you find your next opportunity. If you go to enough events, shake enough hands, talk to enough people and effectively post online on platforms like LinkedIn, people will remember your name. They’ll know what you do and what you’re interested in and, should a position that fits your interests opens in their company, they’re likely to pass it along.
- Networking helps establish you as a helpful person. Go beyond being viewed as an expert; people want to help those who help them. If you have the chance to make a recommendation for someone or help get someone hired in your company, they’re going to want to pay that forward and, when the time comes, find a way to help you out. You never know who might be a great friend, personally and/or professionally, in the future!
- Networking helps you build skills and knowledge. Talking with people in your network about their interests can help you expand your own! Someone in your network takes a class that helps them build their skills; you decide to take it and, down the road, those exact new skills help you land a promotion or a great new job. Or maybe your networking group decides to branch out and take up a new hobby, like cycling or joining charity walks. That expands your network from a social and health standpoint, introducing you to even more people with even more networks to tap into! The possibilities are endless.
Networking might sound like a chore, just one more thing to add to your already busy schedule. You can start small, by posting online and joining groups on LinkedIn and other professional platforms. But it’s important to start and to be deliberate in expanding your network and cultivating it like you would your friendships. It’ll be worth it!
If you’re looking for other advice on networking, or if you’d like to expand your network by finding a new job, contact Davis Staffing. We have a great team of experts who partner with companies looking for someone with your background and expertise and we’d be happy to connect you! Call Davis Staffing today and let’s get started.