The importance of networking

“The power of a human connection in recruitment has never ceased to surprise me,” says Farrel Gordon, Franklin Smith’s Architecture & Design Specialist. “Having met someone in person really makes any future interaction seamless. It comes down to trust and seeing someone in your network as a person. Go ahead make 10 calls, if 2 of the ten people you have met before, you will quickly notice the difference in how those 2 respond to you, especially if you’re collaborating professionally.”

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out on your career journey, the importance of networking cannot be overstated. Grab your virtual business cards and get prepared to unlock a world of opportunities!

But first, let’s break it down. How exactly do we define networking, and why does it matter?

At its core, networking is about building relationships and making connections with others in your industry or field of interest. It’s about more than just exchanging pleasantries at networking events (although those can be helpful too!) Networking is about cultivating meaningful connections that can help you advance your career, find new opportunities, and even learn and grow as a professional.

Here are a few reasons networking is so crucial to business success.

Access to Hidden Opportunities

Ever heard the phrase ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?’ There’s more than a kernel of truth to that. Many job openings are never advertised publicly but are instead filled through referrals and recommendations. By networking, you increase your chances of hearing about these hidden opportunities and getting your foot in the door.

Professional Development

Networking isn’t just about finding your next job, it’s also about learning from others in your field. By connecting with professionals who have more experience or expertise than you do, you can gain valuable insights, advice, and mentorship which can prove invaluable as you grow and advance in your career.

Building Your Reputation

Your network is like your professional reputation on steroids. When you build strong relationships with others in your industry, you become known as someone who is knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy. This can open doors to new opportunities, collaborations, and partnerships down the line.

Support and Encouragement

Let’s face it – job searching can be tough. But when you have a strong network of supportive professionals cheering you on, it becomes a whole lot easier. Whether you need advice, encouragement, or just a sympathetic ear, your network is there to help you navigate the ups and downs of your career journey.

So how can you build and leverage your network effectively?

  • Attend networking events. Whether it’s a local meetup, industry conference, or virtual networking event, make the effort to put yourself out there and meet new people in your field.
  • Be genuine. Networking isn’t about collecting business cards or LinkedIn connections – it’s about building real, authentic relationships. Be genuine in your interactions, and focus on making meaningful connections rather than just ticking boxes.
  • Give before you get. Networking is a two-way street. Offer to help others in your network whenever you can, whether by sharing advice, making introductions, or offering your expertise. Not only does this strengthen your relationships, but it also increases the likelihood that others will be willing to help you in return.
  • Follow up. Don’t let those connections go cold! Follow up with people you meet at networking events, send a quick thank-you email or LinkedIn message, and stay in touch regularly to nurture your relationships over time.

It’s important to remember that networking is a long-term investment in your career, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep putting yourself out there, nurturing your relationships, and seizing opportunities to connect with others in your industry. Your next big career opportunity could be just a handshake or a virtual chat away.