Networking is locating and meeting people that will help you in your career. Some will just be friends, but you never know when a friend can help you find a job or move up in your career.
According to Harvard Business Review, Networking is important.
“But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.” Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2016/05/learn-to-love-networking
Before we learn how to network, we need to know what makes a good networker. At Entreprenuer.com they give us a good idea of what being a good networker entails:
“good networker should be outgoing, sincere, friendly, supportive, a good listener or someone who follows up and stays in touch. To determine other skills an effective networker needs, simply ask yourself “How do I like to be treated? What kinds of people do I trust and consider good friends?”
So how do you network?
Enterprenuer.com also gives us 9 important steps to network effectively:
- Set a goal to meet five or more new people at each event: make a point of heading straight for people you don’t know.
- Try one or two new groups per month: Determine what business organizations and activities you would best fit into.
- Carry your business cards with you everywhere: you never know when you might meet a key contact, and if you don’t have your cards with you, you lose out.
- Don’t make a beeline for your seat: Take full advantage of the valuable networking time before you have to sit down.
- Don’t sit by people you know. Mealtime is a prime time for meeting new people. This is a wonderful chance to get to know new people on either side of you.
- Get active: People remember and do business with leaders. Don’t just warm a chair–get involved and join a committee or become a board member.
- Be friendly and approachable: Make people feel welcome. What goes around comes around. If you make the effort to help others, you’ll soon find people helping you.
- Set a goal for what you expect from each meeting: Your goals can vary from meeting to meeting. Focusing your mind on your goal before you even walk into the event keeps you on target.
- Be willing to give to receive: Networking is a two-way street. Follow up on your contacts; keep in touch; always share information or leads that might benefit them. You’ll be paid back tenfold for your thoughtfulness.
So, now we know networking is important to your job and how to do it. Look up both of these articles and others that will help you to be a great networker. The great part, is you don’t have to wait until you are through with school to start networking. There are plenty of groups to join now. You can find groups at www.evenbrite.com and www.meetup.com. You can also just google networking in your city. Some groups will have training sessions so you can learn new things in the industry, some will be a little less formal, and you can speak to people face to face and ask specific questions.
Get out there, make friends and start networking.