How To Use Networking for Your Job

Networking can be one of the most valuable tools in your job search toolbox. What do you need to know about networking and building connections?

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Networking

Not to be confused with computer networking, business networking is the process by which individuals in similar or related professional or social circles share ideas and make beneficial connections. Usually undertaken in informal and social settings, networking is one of the hidden drivers of professional and personal success. As the old adage states, it’s often not what you know but who you know that makes a difference. While building the right professional network is important for anyone, entrepreneurs will find it especially useful. Knowing the right people in your industry is crucial to proper career development.

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Methods of Effective Networking

When you first start on your career path, networking might be at the bottom of your priority list, but it shouldn’t be. Being able to network effectively is all-important if you intend to seek continued career development. Thankfully, business networking isn’t as scary or complex as it sounds. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, you can start networking effectively with three simple steps.

1. Know where you’re hoping to go
Before you begin networking with potential co-workers and business partners in your industry, you should define goals for your career development and networking process. Think about the professions, positions and certifications you have and the ones you would like, then seek out partnerships with people who are either on the same path or in positions that you would like to be in one day. When you know what career path you want to follow in the long term, you will have a better idea of who you should focus on when you’re online or at networking events.

2. Talk to the people in your circles
It never hurts to start by talking to the people you already know, especially if you work in an office or for a large company in your industry. Your more experienced coworkers may well know some people who could be helpful to you. Once you know what your goals are, start by asking people you already know in your field who they think you should connect with, even if they don’t know them personally. Make a list of the people you do know and a list of the people you would like to connect with, and then take steps to make those connections. Referrals are priceless when it comes to networking.

3. Reach out to everyone
It is important to take advantage of all networking opportunities that are presented to you, even if you feel that the person you are in front of is out of your league professionally. You’d be surprised by how many successful people are happy to act as mentors to new people in their industry. Don’t forget that these successful people also know the value of building relationships, and they take all the opportunities that they find. This is why they become successful.

These are the basic tenets of business networking. If you take these three steps when you begin your social networking journey, you will find that you connect with people in your industry quickly. Once you have built these business relationships, it is important that you maintain them and seek to widen your network further. This is how you will gain access to new opportunities.

How to Start Networking

When you first start on your career path, networking might be at the bottom of your priority list, but it shouldn’t be. Being able to network effectively is all-important if you intend to seek continued career development. Thankfully, business networking isn’t as scary or complex as it sounds. Even if you consider yourself an introvert, you can start networking effectively with three simple steps.

1. Know where you’re hoping to go

Before you begin networking with potential co-workers and business partners in your industry, you should define goals for your career development and networking process. Think about the professions, positions and certifications you have and the ones you would like, then seek out partnerships with people who are either on the same path or in positions that you would like to be in one day. When you know what career path you want to follow in the long term, you will have a better idea of who you should focus on when you’re online or at networking events.

2. Talk to the people in your circles

It never hurts to start by talking to the people you already know, especially if you work in an office or for a large company in your industry. Your more experienced coworkers may well know some people who could be helpful to you. Once you know what your goals are, start by asking people you already know in your field who they think you should connect with, even if they don’t know them personally. Make a list of the people you do know and a list of the people you would like to connect with, and then take steps to make those connections. Referrals are priceless when it comes to networking.

3. Reach out to everyone

It is important to take advantage of all networking opportunities that are presented to you, even if you feel that the person you are in front of is out of your league professionally. You’d be surprised by how many successful people are happy to act as mentors to new people in their industry. Don’t forget that these successful people also know the value of building relationships, and they take all the opportunities that they find. This is why they become successful.

These are the basic tenets of business networking. If you take these three steps when you begin your social networking journey, you will find that you connect with people in your industry quickly. Once you have built these business relationships, it is important that you maintain them and seek to widen your network further. This is how you will gain access to new opportunities.


FAQ: Networking

Q: How do I start networking?

Though it may seem daunting, the best way to network is to simply start doing it. If you wait until you have the right connections, you are unlikely to ever make real progress. Only by actively networking and building relationships will you create a network of contacts and new connections. Don’t forget that even the smallest steps can make a big difference if you are consistent.

Q: Who should I be networking with?

Simply put, you should be networking with everyone you feel can help you develop and grow as a person and an entrepreneur. Whether you run a small business, you’re following a professional career path, or you simply want to increase your social capital, networking is a useful and important step.

Q: What’s the best place to start networking?

If you live in a very rural area or you are unable to travel to networking events, social media sites like LinkedIn are a great place to start your business networking process. However, as you progress, you should attempt to go to networking events. These events represent your best chance to build relationships and partnerships or find a mentorship of sorts.

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