The Benefits of Networking: 14 Reasons To Start Your Network
Updated July 21, 2022
The benefits of networking are found in every industry and organization. Networking achieves the objectives of building business relationships to further career goals or find new opportunities. Networking is vital to career growth and increases the chance to make important contacts. In this article, we explain why networking is important, suggest 14 benefits of building your network and provide tips to build yours.
What is networking?
Networking is about building long-term business relationships that are beneficial to both parties. When networking, you meet and get to know people who not only offer career advice or guidance, but can help expand your effectiveness in your organization. Networking creates the right connections with the right people and fosters those relationships regularly.
In business, networking is important because it:
Builds your reputation
Builds trust and support
Inspires creative thinking
Related: The Complete Guide To Networking
14 reasons to start networking
We compiled 14 reasons why networking can benefit you in business.
1. It increases business connections
Meeting like-minded people in the same or similar industries introduces you to others with similar goals. Sharing ideas and solutions with others can help you achieve your career goals and provide evidence of your expertise. A network becomes a pool of resources you can turn to to solve problems or exchange ideas. As a bonus, networking can produce lifelong friendships.
2. You find inspiration
Sharing challenges, experiences or goals with others allows for an exchange of ideas or insight. When others offer input it may result in an influx of new perspectives not considered before. When you're the one offering advice, others may see you as knowledgeable or reliable, which builds your reputation and increases the chance that others might turn to you in the future.
3. You are visible
Being visible isn't about showing up at every event, it's about demonstrating that you are a reliable and supportive member of your profession. As you network effectively, you become a familiar face who is easily recognized. People may want to get to know you, giving you an opportunity to showcase your skills and discuss what you have to offer. Being visible increases the chance you'll stand out as a candidate, especially if you're looking for new job opportunities.
4. It enhances career interests
Networking advances career interests by introducing you to people who can provide advice for career advancement like proofreading a resume or cover letter or practicing interview questions. Or, you may meet mentors in the same industry who can offer advice on asking for a raise or promotion.
Read more: 7 Types of Networking Opportunities
5. It creates job opportunities
In some cases, available jobs aren't listed on a company's careers page and require inside knowledge. Your networking relationships might inform you of unadvertised job openings or even refer you. Be sure to let your network know if you're looking for a new job so they can offer chances for career advancement or personal growth.
For people who run their own business, networking can expose you to new clients or business investment advice. If you're doing the hiring, networking might provide the ideal candidate.
6. You know more
Networking creates access to new and valuable information, especially when it comes from a wide array of knowledgeable people. You may hear about new developments or learn techniques others are using in your industry. Try pursuing contacts you can learn and grow from to stay ahead of your competition.
7. You find career advice and support
Meeting people with common challenges may provide valuable suggestions or advice for an approach you hadn't considered before. Networking can introduce you to mentors who can provide professional critiques and help you achieve your career goals.
8. You build self-confidence
Networking boosts self-confidence and develops social skills. Striking up conversations with people you don't know lets you grow to become self-assured and comfortable. Forming business relationships can strengthen other office, professional and personal relationships by developing people skills.
9. You might consider a different approach
Sometimes it is difficult to see a problem, especially if you've tried to find a solution for a while. Turn to your network to help you look at the situation from a different angle. Fresh eyes may see an alternate solution or help you overcome roadblocks. Asking your network for opinions or advice conveys trust and helps to develop long-term relationships.
10. You get answers to questions
Networks can help answer tough questions and form action plans to overcome a hurdle or meet a benchmark. Asking industry-related questions might provide information on new business trends, or you may hear an industry tip on a new piece of cutting-edge technology. Asking questions yields answers that might give you an advantage over your competition.
11. You may find personal solutions
Your network is valuable in aspects other than business. Perhaps you plan to remodel your bathroom in the spring and a networking event introduces you to a reputable contractor.
Your network is a resource for people who can provide services to you personally and hiring them can boost your professional relationship.
12. You develop long-lasting relationships
Networking introduces you to like-minded professionals who may also share your common interests. Interacting with peers or industry professionals can often help you develop significant relationships for sharing goals and aspirations. Your network may introduce you to people with whom you form deeper friendships where you can support each other professionally and personally.
13. It has positive health effects
Forming bonds increases your mental and physical health. As you build relationships, you establish a sense of worth and value. Providing advice to others and helping them succeed can give you an emotional boost. Relationship building requires several soft skills, such as communication and teamwork, that strengthen each time you network.
14. You can follow your dream
Networking is an opportunity to find a job you'll love. You may meet people who are hiring for the ideal job or offering an internship or apprenticeship. Your network may alert you to new job opportunities or refer you to hiring managers. Be sure your network knows what you're looking for and what you bring to the job.
How to network effectively
Networking is ongoing, rather than taking place exclusively at an event. Building networks takes time, patience and consistency.
Here is a list of tips to effectively build your network:
1. Look for professional and social opportunities
Business events are just one networking opportunity, consider the many places you interact with other people. As you meet others, share what you do or what job you're looking for. Be sure to tailor your approach to the formality of the event.
2. Plan ahead
Before you attend an event or gathering, find out who will be at the event and perform research if needed. Have questions or topics ready for whomever you've decided to approach. Remember to include topics of common, non-business interests such as hobbies or pastimes. Have business cards ready to hand out and create a system for remembering or filing contacts with appropriate details such as company, contact information and how you met.
3. Leave a positive impression
Optimistic people make a good impression and those who display excitement about what they do can inspire others. Apply active listening when speaking to someone and repeat their question or dilemma back to them. Others are more likely to respond well or remember you if you seem interested and respond in an informed and thoughtful way.
4. Follow up and follow through
If you made a promise, follow through; follow up if an offer was made to or by you. Return phone calls or answer emails and texts promptly. Above all, consistently demonstrate and uphold your business standards to build an effective and positive network.
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