If you’re not an extrovert, networking probably does not come easy for you. When you think of networking, you think of meeting strangers in a conference room where everyone is wearing name tags and making small talk. While this was once the case, social media changed the game, especially with the rise of LinkedIn as the world’s most important career site. If you’re someone who is more comfortable in front of a computer screen, networking is far less daunting, however, it still takes the honing of certain skills to make you successful at it. In today’s blog post, we’re going to break down what networking is, why it's important, who you should add to your network, and how to master networking as a whole.
Career networking is defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. A well-rounded network will provide more opportunities than you would get on your own, whether you’re in the market for a new job, want to build new skills, or even simply become more established in your current industry.
According to a study by The Balance, close to 80% of professionals recognize networking as important to their career growth. 35% of those surveyed said that a casual conversation on LinkedIn grew into a new job opportunity. 61% agree that regular online interactions with their professional network can turn into job opportunities.
With whom should you network? It’s easier than you think!
Yes, you should attend some in-person events as uncomfortable as that could be for introverted people. In-person events are the best places to find common ground with other professionals. Whether you’re in line at the bar, volunteering, or sitting at a table with strangers, a few comments about your job or hobbies can create lasting connections.
There’s no shame in practicing! Networking is a skill that very few people master immediately. Start by asking your neighbors about their jobs, or ask strangers while you’re in line at the grocery store. Getting comfortable with small talk may be the confidence boost you need. Then, follow our seven tips below to become a master networker.
In conclusion, career networking is essential for professional development. By defining your career goals, building your online presence, attending industry events, joining professional associations, practicing active listening, following up, and being authentic, you can improve your networking skills and build a strong professional network that will help you advance your career.
If you need help finding a job, contact ASK Consulting, or check out our job board today to see all the opportunities we have available. Our team of experts has connections throughout the country and they want to see you succeed.