Networking is relatively simple and when done effectively can enhance your ability to advance in your career. It involves establishing and maintaining relationships with people who might be a resource to you later in your career. It is a two-way street that involves give and take for all parties involved.
Your network should answer the “5 W’s:” Who, What, Where, When and Why.
Who-anyone that you meet has the potential to be a part of your network. However, it’s not just passing out your business card or introducing yourself at a meeting or party. You want to network with people that will share information, advice, and introduce you to industry-leading influencers.
What-you are building relationships when you network properly. Teaching and sharing information with others in your network as well as receiving information will provide you with elevated insights into potential job opportunities.
When-network all of the time. Don’t wait for a crisis, such as a job loss. Meeting and involving yourself with a continuous network will keep you informed of changes and opportunities while providing you with the opportunity for personal growth.
Where-potential people for your network can be found anywhere but especially within your business community. Organizations, meetings, training seminars, and conferences are great places to expand your network with people in your field.
Why-You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Networking is a powerful tool that can help you get ahead in your career, find a job, or provide you with valuable support. The job market is very competitive. Knowing the right people and interacting with them before you need a job can make transitions smoother.
Your responsibility to your network is to add value; share information and stay involved. Don’t use those in your network then forget about them. Keep in touch and develop your network. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that may suit those in your network and share that information. Be open to providing advice, referrals, and support and you will find that you will receive the same. Networking is a continuous process that you need to develop, as a good network can help you achieve your career goals and/or position yourself as an industry-leading influencer.