Networking as a skill used to establish relationships in the professional world where both people can benefit. It is a great tool and skill for all job fields. If you are looking for a job, looking to change careers or are just interested in different aspects of a job field, networking is an important skill to understand.
You might have had a conversation with someone who starts off a story with something like “my cousin knew this guy who had an aunt who was neighbors with this guy—“while the story might be a strange one, it is a perfect way to showcase the foundation of networking: Relationships. Indeed.com defines professional Networking as a skill used to establish relationships in the professional world where both people can benefit. It is a great tool and skill for all job fields. If you are looking for a job, looking to change careers or are just interested in different aspects of a job field, networking is an important skill to understand.
There are many reasons networking is beneficial. First, networking is a great way to get your foot in the door when it comes to jobs. Hiring managers would rather hire someone they already know or someone with a trusted recommendation than someone from an applicant pool of strangers. Networking gives you the opportunity to get your name out there and be the person that can be recommended.
Networking also allows you to gain insight and information into various jobs and career fields directly from the inside. This can help you learn more about jobs that are out there and careers that would be a good fit for you. You also have a better chance of hearing of new jobs before they go public.
How to Network
The phrase “Building a Network” might sound intimidating, but the process is not as complicated as it sounds. Start by making a list of people you know who could connect you to a job. These can be friends, family members, members of a club or community you are a member of, or people you have received service from. If you think any of them can help you get a job, make note of it and be sure to contact them.
You can also go to events like job fairs or other community events to help expand your network. This can help you get to know people in specific groups that better relate to the field you are interested in. The key with networking is putting in some time and effort to get to know and build relationships with people.
One important thing to have ready when networking is an elevator pitch. This is a 30-60 second statement about you, what you do, and what your goals are. You can use this pitch as an introduction when meeting new people as well as when people say things like “tell me about yourself”. The Balance Careers states you can also include the elevator pitch online as a bio for sites like LinkedIn.
While not a necessity, consider making business cards with your information on it. Business cards are a great way of giving something tangible to someone so others can get in touch with you. These can have your name, your title, and your contact information.
Using social media can be a great way to network. You can learn more information about organizations by seeing what they post, directly reach out to people employed at the company, and find connections between people and companies you might have not known about. Sites like LinkedIn make it really easy to connect with people and businesses. Social media can be a great tool in building your network, but it should not be your only tool. Make sure to pair online networking with in-person networking to build more personal and memorable connections.
With the goal of networking being to build relationships, it is important to not just focus on yourself. You have to think about the other people you are interacting with. Ask questions. This is your chance to make an impression and show that you are interested in what others are saying. It is also a way to get to know the answers to the questions you have. Ask open ended questions instead of yes or no questions. For example, instead of asking someone “Do you like your job?” ask them “What do you like most about your job?” These kinds of questions help develop a deeper understanding of both the person you are building a relationship with and the topic you are discussing. If you want some ideas of questions you could ask, check out this article by Indeed
Networking is a skill that takes time and practice to master, but it is one that can benefit anyone no matter where they are on their employment journey.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can build up your network along with other job skills, Mary Rigg is here to help. Contact us online here or call us at 317.639.6106 to get connected to an Employment Coach.