Sindiswa Thwala Coffee Time Talk - The Importance of Networking (and How to Do It Well)

Do you dread networking? Here's why it's time to change your perspective.

We get it — networking isn't at the top of everyone's to-do list. It can be time-consuming, downright awkward on occasion, and — depending on your personality — incredibly draining. When your calendar is already overcrowded with work appointments and family commitments, the last thing you want to do is make small talk with strangers at yet another cocktail party.

However, there's no denying the power a strong professional network can have over your career success. When it's done well, networking will not only help you land a job faster, but it will give you a competitive edge throughout every stage of your career. Here's why networking is important to your success, and what you can do to improve your networking skills throughout the course of your career development.

What is networking?
Networking isn't merely the exchange of information with others — and it's certainly not about begging for favors. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet, whether you're waiting to order your morning coffee, participating in an intramural sports league, or attending a work conference. 
Sindiswa Thwala Coffee Time Talk
 Sindiswa Thwala Coffee Time Talk
You don't have to join several professional associations and attend every networking event that comes your way in order to be a successful networker. In fact, if you take your eyes off your smartphone when you're out in public, you'll see that networking opportunities are all around you every day.

Why networking is important to your success

Experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout the course of your career. Networking will help you develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

The importance of networking for career development

Career development, in its simplest terms, is the lifelong evolution of your career. It's influenced by a number of things that include the jobs you hold, the experiences you gain in and out of the office, the success you achieve at each stage of your career, the formal and informal education and training you receive, and the feedback you're provided with along the way.

Ideally, organizations would place more emphasis on employee development in the workplace. However, the reality is that we live in what Carter Cast, author of the book, “The Right (and Wrong) Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made,” refers to as “the era of do-it-yourself career development.”

Cast explains that in today's workforce, the burden is on you to take control of your career development. Hence the importance of networking for career development: As you network with people at your company, in your industry, and even outside your field of interest, you'll uncover opportunities to connect with different types of mentors and advisors, increase your visibility with senior management, further develop your areas of expertise, and improve your soft skills.

workplace

You may assume that networking is an activity reserved for your time out of the office and off the clock, but nothing could be further from the truth. While there is much value in connecting with people who work at other companies or in different fields, don't discount the importance of networking in the workplace. Whether you're new to the company and want to get the lay of the land or you're already established and have your sights set on a promotion, networking with your co-workers can be incredibly beneficial to your career progression.

As you develop relationships with those in your department and in other divisions, be on the lookout for potential mentors, upcoming professional development opportunities, or new job opportunities that are not publicly advertised. Click on the following link for tips to help you effectively network in the workplace.

The importance of networking in the job search

It goes without saying that networking is incredibly important during a job search. Your chances of landing the job increase tenfold with the right employee referral. And, if you're looking to make a career change, your professional network can support you by helping you find connections in the industry you are trying to break into or helping you find leads for jobs at specific companies.

Take the time to build meaningful relationships with those in your professional circle, so when the time comes to search for work, you can tap into those valuable connections for referrals, insights into job leads, and other valuable information.


Women In Business
Women In Business
Women In Business

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