You have likely heard the saying, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” While experience and skills gained through your working environment are incredibly important, there is another important facet to consider. Networking.
You never know whose path you will cross that could lead to an incredible opportunity. This could be an ideal candidate for your own business, an opening to your dream job, or a career long resource that offers knowledge and growth. Today, let’s discuss the importance of networking and why it should not be ignored.
The importance of networking
We live in a digital age. Especially over this last year, networking has had to pivot significantly with face-to-face meetings being scarce. Online has become one of the best places to stay connected both professionally and personally. That’s why social media platforms such as LinkedIn have become vital in building your professional network.
When it comes to platforms like LinkedIn, you want to make sure you are strategic in your connections, and that you aren’t sending frivolous connection requests. Before sending a message to someone you wish to connect with, consider these: do you have shared connections? Do they work in a similar/complimentary field? Is this someone you can learn from? What can you offer of value back to this person? Networking shouldn’t be based around making a sale. It should be about creating true connections with people who can help you build your knowledge and resources, while sharing similar values and goals.
Benefits to growing your network
There are many benefits to growing your professional network. Making new connections can open job opportunities, give you access to possible new hires for your business, mutual support, and expanding your knowledge of other industries with like-minded businesspeople.
According to LinkedIn, “3 people are hired through LinkedIn every minute.” So, when the time arrives that you are looking for a new job, or a career change, you have the support of your online network to offer advice and connections to help your venture. Your online network can help give you a leg up against the competition. Columbia University states that: “eighty percent of positions that are filled are not advertised. Hidden jobs make up 80 percent of new hires.” Therefore, a job opportunity that others don’t have access to, is now available to you; all thanks to the valuable connections you have taken the time to make.
While online networking is extremely important, it doesn’t fully replace the need for human connection and interaction. When the world opens back up, and we can safely meet in person again, keep an eye out for networking events as well as opportunities to meet with those you have connected with online. Whether it be for a casual cup of coffee, or a professional office meeting, the connections you curate and care for will be beneficial to you both professionally and personally.
One last tip! Remember to enjoy the process. We know that networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But, with a little practice, we are certain you can do it.