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Career Advice in 2024: Is Networking Really Worth it?

Group of people gathered in conversation, networking event

Professional networking is something we hear about often in our career journeys, and a factor of job hunting that some individuals might deem as low priority; updating resumes, writing cover letters, optimizing LinkedIn profiles, and simply applying to jobs posted on sites like Indeed is the way to go for many job seekers. However, networking has the potential to open doors that could have remained hidden otherwise for finding a career, partnerships, and other exciting opportunities. According to a recent survey, 79% of professionals consider networking to be a vital factor of career progression, but only 48% consistently connect with their networks. Keep reading to learn more about why networking is essential in the business world. 

Why is networking important?

When deciding whether or not networking is something you wish to spend the time and effort pursuing, you may be asking yourself - will networking actually get me a job? While there is no definite yes or no answer, professional networking helps build relationships that could result in great opportunities. By starting conversations and forming connections, job seekers and business professionals can stand out from the crowd. Let’s look at a few of the benefits of networking.

  • Improve professional visibility for new opportunities: Networking allows you to get to know new people as well as building upon relationships with those you already know. As a job seeker, creating connections with several people is a great way to get noticed. If you share your skills and abilities with someone, they might know of another who is looking for a candidate with your qualifications. As a business professional, forming these connections allows your name and your business to be spread via word of mouth to many others, increasing the likelihood of a collaboration or client opportunity. 

  • Learn more industry insights: While you might think you have a good amount of knowledge about your industry, there is always more to learn. By interacting with others within the same sector, you are able to glean more insightful information and industry best practices that you might not already know. For job seekers, networking is useful for learning if your current skills and qualifications are in demand in the job market for your desired industry. By learning what skills industry professionals either have or are looking for, you can determine if you need to make any additions to your skillset. 

  • Gain valuable advice and build your confidence: For both job seekers and business professionals, having conversations with others can result in valuable advice. We all encounter obstacles in our careers at one time or another, and those in our networks just might have the answers we are looking for. In addition, building these connections allows us to improve our interpersonal and communication skills, which are essential in our careers. By enhancing these skills, self-esteem and confidence may also improve in turn. 

What are some ways to network effectively?

When engaging in networking, it is important to remember that it is more than simply handing out your resume or business card to relevant individuals. It is about building meaningful relationships and striking up conversations, either with those you already know or someone new. Let’s look at a few ways you can network effectively:

  • Talk to the right people: It is important to make sure to reach out to those in the industry or field you are interested in. Remember, family and friends are a part of your network as well. Consider starting a conversation with a relative that might have industry knowledge you are looking for. 

  • Attend in-person events: In a digital age where almost everything can be done online with ease and efficiency, it could seem like a better idea to only network on sites like LinkedIn. However, in a recent survey, 95% of people agree that face-to-face meetings are better for building lasting relationships. 

  • Remain proactive: Make sure you stay connected with your network consistently in order to have up-to-date access to possible opportunities. Your network may be more willing to consider you for job or client offers if you keep up a positive relationship. 

  • Share your own insights: When you are having conversations with your network, consider sharing your own knowledge and experiences as well. If you offer your own help and advice to others, they may remember that positive interaction later down the road. 

  • Be professional but authentic: While networking events are social gatherings of a sort, it is important to remember to remain professional in your interactions and behavior. However, it is just as important to be your true and authentic self. When you are forming a relationship with someone new, consider talking about your interests and hobbies outside of the professional world. Being yourself is essential when building a long-lasting relationship. 

Professional networking has the potential to be worth it in the short and long term for career progression. By building a network and staying connected with those in it, great opportunities may arise and impact your career journey for the better.



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