Why You Should be Networking Even If You Aren't Looking for a Job
1. NETWORKING IS A LONG-TERM ACTIVITY. Networking is not something you can start today and expect results by the evening. It is a long-term activity where the best results can come months or even years after your initial effort. And it's not something you can buy ready made, since every network is personal. To build a solid network takes time and effort and the sooner you start this effort the sooner you will have the benefits. If you start building a network today when maybe you are not looking for work that network will help you a few years into the future when you decide to change or someone else decides for you.
2. NETWORKING HELPS YOU IN YOUR EVERYDAY WORK. There are many ways in which your network can help you that have nothing to do with finding work, getting business or selling things. It will also help you in your everyday work by helping you to find information more quickly, making your life easier. You can Google the answers to many questions but there are many others where an expert opinion is more valuable. So, for example, if you just need the population of Finland there are many online resources, but if you want to know which stop motion animation software would be best for you then the opinion of an expert is more valuable. Through your network you will find it easier to reach people and, if you are doing the networking correctly, these people will be more willing to help you. Your network is also an essential part of your ability to influence other people. People in your network can help you to have the information you need and can also support you when you are lobbying for change. No network means no influence.
3. NETWORKING MAKES YOU MORE VALUABLE. An employee with a strong network is more effective than an equivalent employee with a weaker network simply because they can call on the help of others and get that help quickly. Most managers are aware of this so demonstrating a networking attitude makes it more likely that you will be promoted, assigned the most interesting projects or simply survive a downsizing. The employee with a strong network soon gets a reputation for getting things done and this is worth more than many qualifications and much experience but at the same time it is easier to obtain. Don't leave this low hanging fruit on the tree.
All of this assumes that you are doing the networking correctly. Just collecting contacts on LinkedIn or filling your pockets with business cards is not the way to do it. Serious networking is about building relationships of trust with other people and reaching out proactively to help them. This "payforward" approach pays back in the long run and will probably be the best investment you ever made, unless you invested in Apple in the 1970s.. For practical tips about how to do this try the related posts below or get in touch; there are contact details below.
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