The Benefits of Networking and How To Get the Best Results
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 7 September 2022 | Published 29 September 2021
Updated 7 September 2022
Published 29 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
As you move forward in your career, having trusted people in your network can be hugely useful. You can network passively while they work, forging relationships with colleagues and clients from other companies. If you're actively looking for a new job, you can network more proactively to increase their chance of success. In this article, we discuss what networking is and what the benefits of networking are.
Related: Networking Tips for Job Seekers
What are the benefits of networking?
There are a number of benefits of networking, such as improving your skills and qualities, gaining valuable insight regarding roles, creating opportunities and getting support from others. Below are some of the many advantages that fostering positive relationships with those in your workforce and beyond can bring:
Progress your career
One of the most prominent advantages of networking is how it can enhance your visibility within your sector. As you become more noticeable in your field, there may be opportunities available to progress your career. This can include a promotion at work, a new job offer or a transfer to a location of your choice. Try speaking with those in your personal and professional life to know if your abilities and skills are notable.
Strengthen existing relations
Another benefit of networking regularly is that it allows you to strengthen the existing bonds you have with colleagues and other professionals. Strengthening these bonds can help create a more pleasant environment and a more intuitive way of working with one another. Try referring existing connections to new connections to help to continue strengthening your network relationships.
Access support and guidance
Networking can also create more avenues of support as you gain additional resources from those in your community. You can use your support to ask for guidance about particular tasks, new information and other career fields. For example, in an IT scenario, you may need to involve external security specialists in a project. If you know somebody appropriate and can secure their services promptly, your networking can benefit everybody involved.
Gain fresh ideas
Conversing with people whose opinions differ from yours is the best way to gain new perspectives on a range of subjects. Networking allows you to gain invaluable insight and new ideas, whether that be on a problem, a task at hand or even an emerging industry news story. Having a productive network means you actively avoid the risk of missing developments and innovations in your field.
Receive career advice
It's likely that some individuals you encounter have more experience than you do. You have the chance to gain invaluable career advice from these people. Finding out more about their career history, including how they got to the position you want to be in, is an invaluable resource.
Establish your reputation
In some industries, you have more successful career progression if people know who you are. By networking, more people know your name and what you do within your industry. For example, if somebody in a marketing agency needs a new team member for an upcoming project, they're more likely to approach you if they've heard their name and see your work. This saves them time in the recruiting process.
Improve your wellbeing
Everybody benefits from interacting with others. Creating new social relationships and improving existing ones are some of the most rewarding things you can do. By networking, you not only improve your life at work but also outside it too. For example, HR managers who have close networks with recruiters regularly attend social events, industry conferences and even sporting events together.
Approaching new people boosts your self-confidence and aids in the development of other interpersonal skills, such as communication and teamwork. The more often you do it and the more people you speak to and engage with, the easier this becomes. For example, if you are early in your sales career, you may feel awkward about approaching people, while an experienced sales professional is comfortable approaching anybody.
Improves your personal life
You may meet people at work who share your values, interests and hobbies. By networking, you may find new lifelong friends that you can socialise with outside of work hours. You may also meet people whose professional skills can help you. For example, if you're friends with a skilled mechanic, you can ask them for advice if there are problems with your car.
What is networking?
Networking is an opportunity to build and maintain substantial relationships with people in industry, or one that interests you. This may include colleagues, peers or potential clients you hope to work with one day. Networking is all about the connections you make in working life. You can use these connections for your own benefit and the benefit of your colleagues.
You can learn a lot from networking, no matter your experience. If you're early on in your career, then you can gain invaluable knowledge from more experienced people in your network. If you're later in your career, you gain new perspectives from networking with younger professionals.
How to network and see results
If you're ready to begin proactively networking within your company or wider industry, here are some essential steps to keep in mind:
1. Find and choose your opportunities
There are many opportunities to network. If you wish to network with those outside your immediate work circle, research your chances to do so throughout the year. Some of the most popular networking opportunities include conferences, celebrations, awards evenings and other business events. For maximum networking efficiency, strive to choose a broad variety of networking chances in order to increase your list of contacts.
2. Research and plan well in advance
Once you know what events or similar networking opportunities you want to attend, the next step is to research who will be there and who you intend to talk to. Plan what to say, whether that is the exchanging of contact details or the asking of a question. For example, you could say, 'How has the new legislation affected your company's new building projects?' or 'Let's share details to discuss this further.'
When planning what to say or do with potential new connections, always strive to have a loose flow of conversation. By keeping the pace and topic of conversations natural, your network is more likely to warm up to you. Remember to always engage people in a friendly and professional manner to get the best results.
3. Charm, smile, reciprocate and impress
While at the event, you want to make sure you leave as good an impression as possible so that connections remember your name and want to have further conversations with you. Be pleasant and welcoming to those you talk to and be sure to reciprocate by listening and being curious about what others have to say. Professional connections are also personal connections, so keep the conversation friendly.
When talking to others in your network, you can either spend a lot of time with a few new connections or try to meet as many people as possible and share your contact details with them. When you have an opportunity to network, always consider these three questions:
What kind of environment is it? At larger events specifically run for networking, it's fine for you to be more assertive. If you meet someone in a smaller social setting, showing an active interest in the industry is more important.
What do you want to gain from the networking? You may meet somebody and are interested in their work by chance, or you might try to meet them specifically to network with them. Always remember to be friendly and appropriate, regardless of the context.
How many people do you want in your network? You might struggle to keep up with high numbers of people you've met. If you're in a sales or recruiting role, then you want as many professional connections as possible.
4. Revisit following your conversation
Once the event is over and you believe it was a success, remember to contact the connection you've made. It could be as simple as a follow-up email or a text message. By following on from the conversation, you're building that new relationship. Converting the connections into further communication is the best way to show you were successful at networking.
The ideal time to chase up your network following an event is within one to two days following that. This gives connections enough time to come away from the event and reflect on their networking. One to two days is also soon enough after the event that they still remember who you are and what you discussed.
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