In today’s global community where we often have to travel, to make a living, we find ourselves on planes trains and buses. (I bet you thought that I was going to say automobiles) The commonality of these modes of transportation is that you find yourself sharing your stories with one another about who you are and what you are doing. You never know whom you will be sitting beside and sometimes you will strike up a conversation with someone who either knows someone that you know or are in a similar line of work. This is the basis of human networking and the backbone of why networking is so important. The people that you meet day in and day out are often the foundation of new relationships that you may come to rely on in the future.
As a career consultant working in higher education I know the benefits of professional networking in beginning your career, furthering your career or helping others that you have met along the way to rise up the ladder of success in their chosen field. I spend a lot of my time in working with college students explaining the virtues and values of networking in trying to find internship and job opportunities but I also spend just as much time telling them of the chances that they have to help others in their network. They often give me the strangest looks as they say, “I don’t know anyone that I can help”. With a chuckle I tell them about the times that I have found an open position posting in a university that I have been able to send to a friend who is now a co-worker.
As you meet new people throughout your career, you increase your chances of laying the groundwork of future career moves. When you take the time to help others in your field, you are actually setting yourself up to move to that “better” position for yourself. As you find positions that you are interested in applying for then you search on LinkedIn and see if anyone you know is currently working at your company/organization of interest. The next step is to reach out to them and tell of your interest in the position. Often they will offer to act as a reference or to reach out and contact the hiring manager directly on your behalf. There are also times when you are not looking for a new position and people reach out to you and encourage you to apply to a position because they want to work with you at their organization. The value of networking is many fold so it is highly beneficial to maintain your network to keep it viable and strong.
Networking is different for each person and can be a powerful tool in his or her journey. You should always be ready to use it to connect with others. By continuing to connect with others, you continue to improve your chances of building on current success.