Networking is the process of interacting and exchanging information with others and developing professional relationships to help further your career. Without us knowing, there are a lot of potential contacts everywhere, and networking with these prospects can be beneficial for your career. The importance of networking allows you to access job opportunities that you are not able to find on your own. Networking has the potential to provide you with a thorough insight into a specific role, what the requirements are, and advice on how to improve yourself professionally.
Knowing how to use networking as a tool can save you time and effort and may get you into interviews with a number of companies.
Tips on how to network effectively
Look for the right target audience:
It is important to reach out to people that will provide you with the help that you need. If you are not sure of what specific field you are interested in, it would be helpful to connect with friends or relatives in various industries and positions.
One of the most important factors of networking is to constantly be kept up-to-date. It is vital that you have a profile that is engaging with your contacts as this is crucial to maintaining beneficial connections. You can do this by sending a short email or message to ensure that they will be willing to assist you when you need them.
It is important to keep track of what your different contacts in your network can offer you and in return what you can offer to them. Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships with your contacts and how you are able to help them. If you are willing to support your friends or contacts, they will be more likely to return the favour.
Utilise various online resources:
It has become so easy to network with others because of technology. With the help of the internet, it has become so valuable in creating, maintaining, communicating and fostering relationships with your contacts. Social media platforms have made networking so much easier to connect and engage with your contacts and build mutual relationships.
What are the advantages of networking?
- Networking allows you to exchange and gain knowledge
- Boosts your self-confidence and reputation
- Networking helps to market yourself and your skills
- Helps define your career goals
- An opportunity to meet new people
- Forming and maintaining strong relationships
- Broadening your opportunities
- Sharing your experience and expertise
- May find a good mentor/ mentee
- An opportunity to learn from different industries
As a student, it would be a good idea to build-up your network at an early stage and ensure that you are maintaining it consistently. When you are investing your time and effort into building your network, it is an opportunity to engage with your resources when you need them.