What is networking?
Networking is the exchange of information, ideas, and help among people with a common profession, special interest, or community.
Why is networking important?
Making connections throughout life is essential. You never know if someone you met in middle school is going to have an impact on your future. For many people, you might not start thinking about networking and making career connections until high school or college. The internet has made connecting much easier by having the ability to connect with someone thousands of miles away.
How to network effectively
Networking can be seen as something that should be done at an official event or specific situations. But, you can make connections at any time. Although specific networking events are helpful, this learned skill can help people advance their careers in many different settings.
Attending workshops or seminars are some of the most common ways of networking. These opportunities allow people with similar career interests or goals to connect. Going to networking events is especially important for people just starting out in their careers.
Networking is a tool that supports you not only in your career but many other lifelong goals. By building a relationship with someone over time, will give you more opportunities to help and be helped. If you form a closer relationship with someone, they will be more likely to help if you need them.
How networking has evolved
With the increased use of technology, the way we network is always changing. Networking can be done at any time even from thousands of miles away. LinkedIn is one of the most used online career networking platform. This one website allows people to apply for jobs, create posts, make connections, and join groups.
Other social media platforms can also be used to make meaningful relationships. Following someone on Instagram could be how you get your next job. Connecting with people through social media is something that can be done from the comfort of your home. Now that we are more isolated, it is important to find ways to network using social media.
There are some barriers involved in only being able to connect using social. Although connecting over social media is helpful, it can be difficult when it is the only option. A personal connection can be made more easily when you interact with someone in person. In these difficult times, it is important people continue to work hard to make connections, even if it is more challenging.
A major component of building meaningful relationships is building a community. By networking, you are building your own community of resources. This community can help you with career growth and any roadblocks you encounter along the way.
Interested in building meaningful relationships for your career?
Join WEST at our event on 8/4, Building Meaningful Relationships for Your Career led by Chesley Chen.
Also checkout this HBR article on collaboration networks by Rob Cross, someone in Chesley’s network who he met 20 years (network case in point).
If you are looking for more events on how to advance your career, check out our upcoming events page!