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Career networking is a vital tool in developing professional connections and moving your career forward. But you need to have a plan. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of career networking, and how you can get the most out of it.
When people think of "career networking," many think of stuffy events with people in name tags exchanging business cards. While that's certainly still an aspect, the world of networking has changed, and you should consider using it as a tool to help move your career forward.
In this article, we'll discuss the ins and outs of career networking, including:
Why is career networking important?
What is the best way to network for a job?
Three social networks that can help you network effectively
In general, professionals network to make contact with others in their industry who share common career goals, and to establish professional relationships with people who might help them down the road (plus, you might meet some cool people!).
Also, one of the most important aspects of networking is to gather those all-important referrals. Up to 40 percent of hires in any given company are through referrals.
As we’ve mentioned, networking is more than standing around handing out business cards. Here are four tips to make your networking productive.
Network before you need to. If you’re going into an event thinking, “I’m going to meet some great people” you’ll be much more successful than if you’re thinking, “Oh, I need a job!”
Have a plan. Instead of just “winging it,” make a mental note of your strengths and weaknesses, the value you bring, and how you could help other people.
Check your ego at the door. Don’t overlook a connection because you think that person can’t help you.
Always follow up. If you say you’ll get back to someone, make sure you do it. This will go a long way in establishing a positive reputation.
When it comes to online networking, most people think of LinkedIn, for good reason. According to their stats, eight people are hired on LinkedIn every minute. But they’re not the only game in town. Here are three other professional networking sites you might not have considered:
Meetup.com offers both online and in-person networking events, is free to use, and offers many opportunities to connect locally with other people in your field.
Black Professionals Network offers events, support, and resources. While they currently have chapters in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, they offer opportunities to start local chapters and provide an online forum for members to meet virtually.
Ladies Who Launch offers opportunities for female professionals to network online or in person. The site offers its own Slack channel and helpful tips.
Networking is a great tool that can have a positive effect on your career because it helps you develop connections, gain knowledge, and increase the opportunities for referrals—no name tag required.
Ready to take your career to the next level? Try our Job Search Strategy tool to learn the tools you need to take charge of your job search.
Networking allows professionals to make contact with others in their industry or who share common career goals.
Networking is the best way to gain career insights and develop referral opportunities.
Remember that networking is a two-way street—along with finding people who can help your career, actively work towards helping others as well.
Jennifer Inglis is a freelance writer and content creator. A former public school teacher, she has expertise with English literature, writing, and public speaking, as well as an extensive professional background in advertising and media analysis. Jennifer has a bachelor’s degree in Theater and a master’s degree in Education, and is the author of two published novels.