Why Is Networking Important? (With Benefits and Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated May 26, 2022 | Published September 7, 2021
Updated May 26, 2022
Published September 7, 2021
Related: 7 Networking Tips to Build Your Network in Strategic & New Ways!
This video offers 7 strategic networking tips that you can use no matter what stage you are at in your career.
Networking in business is a practical resource for career development, professional success, and continuous improvement capabilities. Building an extensive network can provide new job opportunities, lead to advancement opportunities, and enable personal or professional improvement. Understanding the value of networking can help you grow your career and strengthen your professional success. In this article, we discuss networking, answer "Why is networking important?", and share some tips to help you network effectively.
What is networking?
In business, networking is the act of maintaining a personal and professional contact list that you can use to help further your career. Your network comprises all the people you interact with, all of whom could potentially offer you valuable professional assistance or guidance. To create and maintain a beneficial network, it's a good idea to seek out opportunities to grow and expand your network intentionally.
Networking can include individuals from a variety of sources. This can provide you with multiple sources of information and advice that can improve your performance and chances of success. Your personal and professional network can include:
Professors or fellow students
Professionals in your field
Clients or customers
Other community members
Related: Guidelines on How To Network
Why is networking important?
Here are several reasons networking is important as a professional:
Improve professional recognition
Many individuals network to help them in business, politics, or even to help them leverage fame. In business, people quickly notice those with skills or competencies that can benefit them and their business. Networking to improve your business recognition can help improve opening new client accounts, making beneficial business connections, and increasing overall profits.
Open new business opportunities
When you increase your professional network, you can also increase the chances of new business opportunities. Career-minded professionals can quickly expand their business or services because of their extensive professional networks. This can also improve the company's success because of the increased knowledge and awareness surrounding the company.
Review qualifications and abilities
Networking with professionals in a similar field or industry can help you identify areas for improvement for yourself. You can review your qualifications and skills to see if they're applicable in the current market by analyzing the skills or qualifications of others in the same field. This can help you visualize if you should obtain additional qualifications or develop applicable skills.
Enhance creative mindset
Another benefit of networking is that it allows you to interact with others who can help you create solutions because it enables a new perspective on an idea or project. For example, you might have a market research project to help understand specific consumer behaviours. If you reach an obstacle in your research, an individual in your network might help you discover a way to overcome that obstacle and continue your research.
Added experienced resources
Certain relationships you develop can help you with specific or niche topics. This provides you with the opportunity to establish a working relationship in which you can discuss specific topics. Your network can help increase your overall understanding of specific subjects or abstract concepts. This resource can also help provide you with direction in research or finding solutions.
Increase professional support
Throughout your career, you might encounter obstacles that having a network can help you overcome. This help can be in suggestions or advice to help navigate and overcome those obstacles to reach an ideal solution. Some relationships that you develop might also introduce you to other professionals who can answer your problems.
Potential to grow status
Networking can also help grow your career status that might increase long-term success. Many contacts you develop and maintain can lead to new networking and business opportunities. Building an extensive network and fostering relationships with that network can increase their likelihood of sharing your information and working with other like-minded professionals. This increase in awareness can also increase your professional status.
Many networking opportunities also provide learning and growth opportunities in the form of courses or training seminars. Being offered these learning opportunities can help build your self-confidence and your self-esteem. As you create more networks, you can also build your self-confidence.
Foster long-term relationships
Long-lasting relationships can also develop with effective networking. Offering valuable insights and providing assistance can turn a one-sided relationship into something mutually beneficial. This can help build a network connection into a long-term relationship that continues to provide support and value.
Increase job manoeuvrability
Fostering connections across many industries or career paths can also help you if you decide the pursue a different career path. These connections can enable you to inquire about open positions within their organization. It can also help you understand the position because you have first-hand insight into that particular role within the company. This can increase the ability you have in changing careers or pursuing a different professional path.
Related: How To Change Careers
Enhance idea-sharing capabilities
Having an open network of communication between like-minded individuals allows sharing ideas or concepts. Sharing ideas can also increase the trust and capabilities of these relationships and help form long-lasting connections. This can also help you improve concepts into actionable solutions that can benefit your company.
Tips to network effectively
Consider this advice to help you increase your professional networking abilities:
Look for the right people
Reach out to the people who can provide you with the specific help you need. If you're interested in a different field, connect with friends or family members who work in that industry. If you hope to switch departments in your workplace, talk to colleagues who are part of that team.
Cultivating your network year-round is crucial to maintaining beneficial connections. Maintaining positive relationships with your extended network can improve their willingness to help you when you need them. Some ways to be proactive include sending a brief email or calling to check on them.
Give and take
It's essential to keep track of what the different contacts in your network can offer you. Equally important is to know what you have to offer as a contact. Ideally, networking needs to be mutually beneficial, so be sure to let your network know how you can help them.
Use your resources
It has become easier to maintain a professional network due to technology. The internet is a valuable resource for creating, cultivating, and communicating with your contacts. Use social media platforms to reach out to professionals in your area, reconnect with old friends, and start a conversation with the people you meet while on the job.
Seek networking events
Socializing in person is still your best chance of creating a successful network. Attending company mixers, corporate retreats, or community events can expose you to various important contacts. When going to these events, make sure you bring along business cards to give to other professionals.
Reciprocate help and advice
Offering advice and assistance to those in your network can increase the chances of providing future advice to you. This can also help form a robust and lasting relationship with network members. It can also help you generate ideas that can help your organization.
Networking can take time, as solid relationships involve effort and trust. Acknowledging that relationship building takes time can help increase the likelihood of that relationship lasting over a more extended period. Additionally, it can help you determine if that relationship can benefit you or your organization in the long term.
It's essential to build your relationships with others rather than focus on what those relationships can offer. This can leave a positive lasting impression on those individuals and increase the chances of their assistance in your career. It can also show that you value them as an individual rather than valuing them as an asset to your career.
Consider existing or prior network
Sometimes, relationships need maintenance because they might have faded over time. Contacting and fostering existing or previous network relationships can have a lasting impact on your career's success. Reestablishing past relationships can also open up new networking opportunities for you. This is because those past relationships likely formed new networks during the period between you starting the relationship and re-establishing that relationship.
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