Networking is an automatic process that we engage in as we respond to various situations in life. Churches, community based associations and a variety of support organizations are examples of networking groups. Networking is a practice that allows us to connect to people who have a vision or need that is common to ours, and can help us achieve our goals. The members of a church network rely on each other for spiritual and emotional support that will help to keep them grounded in their faith as well as help them find the resolve to deal with life’s challenges. The same is true of support groups such as those for rape and cancer victims.
Whatever the profession, networking is a very helpful practice to engage in for career advancement. Many top positions are never advertised through the regular channels. A job seeker who had a connection that knew of the opening, and was able to recommend them for the job or give them the heads up about the opening, often fills those positions. When you have such strong connections who are in the know about what is happening in the industry, it gives you the edge over those who don’t. For example, a technical engineer who has a network of colleagues in his field that he engages with on a regular basis, has a greater chance of hearing about developments within the industry or of a job opening long before someone who is not a part of a network. Research shows that 65 to 80% of jobs obtained by job seekers came through networking.
You can bolster your career advancement and job search by reaching out to people who are willing to network and exchange information with others. It makes perfect sense to network both socially and professionally. Facebook and LinkedIn are two popular online platforms for networking and connecting with people. The former is geared towards the social, and the latter towards professional networking.
You will reap great dividends from building your own network or becoming a part of one that is vibrant. It places you in a community of professionals who provide invaluable support for each other. It is not uncommon for professionals to become overwhelmed by the demands or changes within their field of work. Professionals find solutions to problems when they discuss and brainstorm with people going through the same, as well as to those in the know who can provide some valuable insight. You can gain information about new developments such as improved technology, new tools and processes, key leaders in the field, as well as relevant products and services.
Your network is also a great medium to announce that you are job hunting, desire a promotion or that you wish to work at a different company. The important thing is to fill your network with people who are social, and willing to share information that others will find useful.
Aside from being informed of job openings and gaining emotional support, you can gain the satisfaction of supplying information that proves to be vital to a member of your network. This helps to place you in an authoritative position, as people will know they can look to you for sound advice and relevant information. Network building is a continuous process that last throughout your career.