The Hidden Values in Networking
In my most recent blog I talked about the cost of a bad hiring decision for an employer. I touched upon some of the known costs and some of the hidden cost as well. Today, I want to emphasize the importance of networking and share some of the obvious reasons and some of the benefits we might not think about.
You attend an ASIS conference and meet some new contacts – at a friend’s birthday party and you meet someone who knows a colleague of yours – you’re in line at the grocery store and start conversing with someone and you end up talking about your work and you agree to exchange business cards. Whether you know it or not…you’re networking.
Networking is something that is always mentioned in conjunction with your career. And it’s often that networking will help you land your next job.
So let’s examine a few reasons to take networking seriously:
1. Developing additional knowledge & skills: Meeting new people in your field helps you learn more about your industry. You’ll be exposed to different points of view and other people who have years of knowledge and experience. You may end up being a mentor to someone with less experience than you. That person will always be willing to be a resource for you in the future. Not to mention that a professional network is also a great source of feedback when you need advice.
Let others help you by listening and interacting with those in your network. Why not learn from others mistakes and successes?
2. Creating mutually beneficial relationships: Not only can networking help you gain valuable skills and knowledge, but you can help others as well. You should strive to help others by sharing your skills, expertise and knowledge with them, too.
These relationships are invaluable when you’re looking to make a job change, need feedback or advice, or just need to bounce ideas off of a fellow professional that you trust.
3. Additional sources of support and information: Networking contacts can be experienced professionals and have a wealth of knowledge that you may not have. They likely have had different experiences than you and can provide a unique point of view on issues you may have.
By building a strong network, you automatically have people “on your side” that are willing to help spread a good word about you—and who doesn’t want that?
4. Building and maintaining your personal brand: Networking helps you establish your personal brand online and in-person. People will get to know you and trust you and look to you for guidance and information. You can become the industry’s “go-to, expert” for a particular issue.
5. Boosting your self-esteem: We naturally like to socialize and make new friends, and doing so in your career can help boost your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re well-respected and connected in your particular field. A healthy level of self-esteem can make you happy and provide other benefits knowing you have a full network of individuals that can help you out and vice versa. It can also help your personal brand to increase in value and your career to flourish.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding your personal experience of what you have gained out of networking relationships.