Stale canapés, warm wine, not enough hands to do everything and a business card swapfest…
Is that your impression of networking?
Or maybe it’s the recurring nightmare you have, of walking into a room, where everyone turns and looks at you, and you shrink into the corner thinking “please don’t let me have to talk about myself to these people!
In my experience, networking is right up there with public speaking in terms of striking fear into the heart of most women I work with.
But, there’s no getting away from it, networking is CRUCIAL for your career development.
Need convincing? Read on to find out the benefits of networking for YOU and YOUR career.
7 Good Reasons For Networking
1. New job opportunities.
Did you know that around 70% of new roles are never advertised? That means they are sources either through internal applicants or through personal network referrals. In a tight job market, if moving firms or roles is necessary for your advancement, you are potentially missing out on a huge proportion of opportunities.
2. Enhance your people skills
To get ahead in most careers these days you need to be an “all-rounder”, that is you must have strong technical skills AND people skills. Networking is a way of enhancing your people skills and meeting contacts that may become client contacts in the future.
3. Hone your confidence and presentation skills
Meeting new people is a perfect way to practice your presentation skills. And developing strong relationships is integral to a healthy mental state of mind, and gives you confidence in that you feel a sense of belonging and well-being.
4. Make future contacts for business ventures and expand your horizons into different industries
Most people now have 4 or more different careers in their life. all your life, but with less linear career paths in most industries, it’s crucial to expand your horizons outside your current industry.
5. Build your profile in your industry and beyond
In a noisy world with many people vying for attention, having a strong professional profile (internally and externally) is key to your success.
6. Personal and professional growth
Networking can often take us a little out of our comfort zone, which is good for our growth. And growth is essential for our career and personal wellbeing.
7. It’s fun!
Networking can be fun when you know what you are doing and you never know who you might meet!
So, what to do now?
Like anything in life, the sooner you get started, the better.
Here are some suggestions to put you on the right track:
- If you don’t know who is in your network, write a list of everyone you know.
- If you do know, choose 3 people to re-connect with, and call them to get a coffee date in the diary.
- Look up all the events in your industry and see what’s coming up that you are interested in.
- If you specialise in a particular area, find events in that industry eg if you are a workplace relations lawyer, find HR related events.
Get networking, grow your profile and accelerate your career.
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