Why Care About Networking
Perhaps you don’t see any value in networking. After all, what’s the point if you aren’t looking for a new job? Networking is just the latest meaningless industry catch-phrase and who cares if you are LinkedIn? You’re far too busy to be “Twittering” or whatever its called all day long. Next thing you know you’ll be told you should be participating in flash mobs in the streets downtown or some other silly thing, right?
Wait! Stop and consider what the definition of networking according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
Networking is much more than a buzzword, it is considered by industry experts to be a highly important tool in growing a business or career.
The first and most obvious benefit that comes to mind is how beneficial networking can be for those conducting a job search. However, networking goes way beyond that. How? Think about your resources… people you know in other industries that could be of help to you or others you know in some way, at some point. Your resources can offer you advice, suggestions, referrals and even provide solutions to problems. Furthermore, networking can help someone become better known in the marketplace, which can open the door to new opportunities.
Networking also applies to the potential to gain new business or clients, which could be obtained through introductions from others in your network. If one has a strong, solid network, they can be seen as a hero to others, thus making them more of an asset when the time comes to use those resources.
Here are good examples of the benefits of networking:
- Advance your professional development
- Cultivate knowledge resources
- Establish new business contacts
- Learn about the dynamics within your industry
- Find new career opportunities
- Get involved in your community
- Facilitate good relationships which are beneficial for both parties
- Create referral networks
Regardless of the manner in which one builds their network, they should learn ways in which to take advantage of it in order to realize the benefits of having that network. One way to do this is to identify ways to improve your network – always view it as a continuous process. Whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (or even all three), community networking events, business mixers, or seminars, building a network will prove useful for everyone in one way or many.
Written by Stacy Ethun Stevens
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