The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Networking for Professional Development
One buzzword that has dominated the recruitment space over the last few years like no other is networking. Every second article about career or job search mentions how networking has become the most important thing for a job seeker in the current age. But what is it that makes it so vital?
Those who consider networking as a tool useful only for the job seekers are often looking at only half the picture. Networking is a life-long endeavor whose most visible benefits are when someone you know pushes you a step ahead of others to get you a job when you need it most. A network is important because, just like the game of snake and ladders, you never know when you will find someone who can be that ladder and help you climb your way to success. However, that’s just not about it. There is much more to networking than just job search.
What is a network?
A network is the web of relationships that you make while meeting new people. Your network might include a best friend as well as a new joinee in your company whom you have met for the very first time. Unlike what you believe or know, a network is a living entity, with people coming out and going in of it all the time.
A little research into this topic will reveal the basic concept of networking revolves around the idea of human beings as social animals who naturally coexist and survive on interaction with each other. Networking takes it a step forward where you make a conscious effort of establishing meaningful relationships with the people you meet and maintaining them throughout your life.
When these relationships are professional in nature, or with people whom you first met at a workplace or with a particular business, it is conveniently called as professional networking. Just like no one doubts the importance of networking in an individuals’ life, similarly no one can deny the role of professional networking in ensuring a better career.
How can a network support you career?
Whether you are working at a particular organization or looking for a career opportunity, a network can support you in many different ways.
In the current job: With the help of your network you can accomplish things that you wouldn’t have been able to while going solo. Whether it is an expert advice that you need regarding completion of a deadline or performing tasks such as leave approval or claiming benefits, a better network would ensure speedily execution of the end goals.
Most of the time your ability to perform well has high dependence on how well you work with others. Whether you are able to overlook personal differences and come together on an aisle for pursuing the same goal is a test of your networking ability. Besides, if you are a person who spends hundred percent of his time sitting in front of a computer then it will be hard for you to see the political dynamics going on at work. Your relationships with others can provide with the much needed input to help you navigate successfully to the next level.
When looking for new opportunities: If you are the kind of person who only remembers his friends when in need then there is little that networking can do for you. A meaningful relationship is that where there is a communication channel of some sorts over which two people communicate with each other. The communication, however succinct or subtle, is what lends meaning to any relationship. Therefore, even if you are not looking for jobs, feed your network with bits and bytes of information.
As you must be aware of the biggest irony of the recruitment industry, most HR would not care to hire freshers for any position yet people do work at executive positions. How’s that possible? This is where the network comes handy. If you have a college senior working at some company he can introduce you to his manager and help you get a wonderful job opportunity.
Networking for business: Business doesn’t survive until you network. If you do not have three friends to rub together, forget your chances of being a successful businessman. It doesn’t matter that you are engaged in a profit or a non-profit business, until you are better connected with people in groups and other businesses, more opportunities will be hard to come by.
In the current age, having a strong professional network is not just a nice thing to have; it is a compulsion.
About the Author
Saurabh has written this article keeping in mind the needs of the job seekers community, to help them be a better professional. His write-ups extensively cover all the aspects of job searching and working life, right from subscribing to new jobs, to getting ready for interview, and working at an office. If you want to read more of his articles, follow him on, LinkedIn and Twitter.