It’s in times like these that we realize just how valuable our network is to us. Whether it’s made up of family, friends, neighbors, or work colleagues, whoever it is, everyone’s community is unique. Many people are calling upon their existing network right now for support as we confront a global challenge. One consequence of this is a lot of people have more free space on their calendars than usual due to the restrictions implemented by authorities worldwide. This is why we believe that it’s a crucial time for you to expand your network by establishing new connections online.
What is networking, and why is it important?
The traditional definition of networking is described by the Macmillan Dictionary as “the activity of meeting and talking to people to exchange information and advice about work or interests.” We can easily adapt this definition to fit our “stay at home” situation as our “meeting and talking to people” become Hangout or Zoom sessions.
Incorporating regular networking sessions into your career calendar is vital for long term success. Making new connections will increase your chances of finding unique job opportunities, allow you to pick up expert knowledge, and give you a competitive edge in your area.
Exchange ideas and engage on deeper levels
Have you ever heard of the quote by science educator Bill Nye: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” This quote illustrates exactly why networking is so beneficial to your career as you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Even if you only learn a small detail at each networking event, all of this collective information is what provides the base for your career success. Networking events also allow you to take your opinions and knowledge to the next level and receive critical feedback from peers within your industry. Make sure you look out for professional groups on social media that are setting up virtual networking events.
Unsure on how to break the ice at a networking event? Discover these 5 no-fail conversation starters!
Increase your visibility
Another big part of networking is that it’s all about turning up and making yourself visible. Even if we can’t currently attend face-to-face networking events, you can still make the right impression online. You need to have a solid elevator pitch that can tell people about your expertise and what you can offer. As you’ll be currently networking solely online, your elevator pitch will become the “about me” section of your profile. Don’t forget to have an updated professional profile picture too; people remember faces and names. A strong industry network can lead you to real career success.
Uncover exciting job opportunities
The more you engage and connect with people, the more likely it is that they’ll open doors to new opportunities for you. These opportunities can present themselves in different ways, like setting up a call with new clients, which leads to a huge career win or meeting leading professionals that provide you with priceless guidance. Not only this, but one of the most significant advantages of networking is that some job opportunities aren’t posted online, they’re strictly kept between industry circles. Therefore, by building your network, you could be one step closer to finding your dream job!
Looking for the perfect networking follow up? Here’s how to stay in touch!
Boost your self-confidence
One commonly overlooked benefit of networking is that it develops your self-confidence. The more you push yourself to attend networking events, the easier it’ll become to break the ice and have meaningful conversations with your fellow networkers and colleagues. Having this increased level of self-assurance also pays off in interviews, and you’ll come across as a stronger candidate.
Overall, networking is an indispensable element at any point in your career; however, it’s more important now than ever to make new connections. Networking now means you’re future-proofing your career.