Why Networking Matters

What Is Networking? Networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Establish and nurture long-term beneficial relationships with the people you meet.

How to Network:

Be Intentional: Networking may seem like just collecting a bunch of business cards and exchange emails and phone numbers, but there’s more to it. Networking is done with a purpose. There is a reason for your conversation with someone. Place yourself in networking opportunities that can help meet your career goal.

Break the Ice: It can be awkward walking up to a random stranger and starting a conversation. But without conversation there is no networking. Stick to something simple like, “What brings you here?”

State your Career Goals: Be prepared by knowing what your career goal is. Sometimes we may feel our goals are set too high or we don’t want to come off as pushy. It’s important to be upfront about our goals, let it be known what you want and be confident.

Follow up: If the conversation went great and you exchanged contact information, it’s crucial to follow up with that person. Networking is a web of conversations. You won’t be the only person to have had a conversation with someone. Follow up with said person by reminding them of your interaction. You can do so through email, a note, social media or a phone call. Mention the conversation you shared and something specific you talked about that caught your attention. Remember, networking isn’t over when you leave the event.

Benefits:

Climb the Career Ladder: Meeting people who are in the same industry that you are trying to break into is vital. They can tell you about organizations and companies that you may not have known about, tips about landing a job in the career field you want, people they know in the industry that they can connect you with. It’s all about who you know, and by having someone who can help connect you with others in the industry may give you an upper hand.

Build Relationships and New Opportunities: You never know when a career opportunity will present itself to you. Networking can help you get noticed by people you may want to work with, get approached by recruiters about job opportunities. Meet like-minded people in the industry you want to pursue, meet people who can connect you to others, and meet someone new who can help become a mentor to you.

Gain Valuable Opinions and Tips: The industry, like anything, is always changing, there’s always more to learn. Networking allows you to receive advice and gain knowledge from those in your desired industry, and since they have already gone through the process of breaking into the industry, they can share tips with you.

Where Does Networking Take Place?

-At work

-Events (work, party, professional, school, etc.)

-Family gatherings

-On social media

-Conferences

-Job Fairs

Who You Can Network With:

-Co-workers (past or present)

-Colleagues

-Family members

-Friends

-Managers, Supervisors (past or present)

-Professors

-Classmates

-Clients or Customers

-Acquaintances