In need of a good reason to network? Many of us don’t want to network. In fact many of us don’t understand why we need to network and certainly don’t see how it will benefit us if we did.
So here’s why we might want to network. Here’s how networking benefits us and our careers:
1. Building popularity and making new friends.
By becoming more connected we may gain a greater sense of popularity. And good networking practice is about doing favours for people – which makes us valuable.
2. Being newly noticed
When we network and get more acquainted, people who have seen us around have us “on their radar.” That’s how we are in their consciousness when an opportunity arises.
3. Getting favours faster
Networking builds both rapport and trust – through goodwill and doing favours for others. Consequently others feel indebted and a want to reciprocate. Internally and externally, people we otherwise were only acquainted with are open to making things run more smoothly for us.
4. 80% jobs are unadvertised
It’s uncertain as to how many exactly but it’s well documented that 70%+ of jobs are unadvertised. Many recruiters in the current marketplace believe it’s 80% or higher because jobs are less available and promoted quickly through word-of-mouth.
Through networking we stay ahead of the game and hear of opportunities – or be pinpointed by someone who holds us in high esteem – long before we start looking for our next challenge!
5. Speeding up skill growth
When we network, we not only improve our influencing skills, but how we receive prompts and information. These improve other specialist skills related to our interests or profession.
6. It’s a skill needed at the top
To maintain political dexterity at the top of an organisation or in a sector, to get on with a wide variety of stakeholders, networking is key.
7. 6 Degrees of Separation doesn’t apply to 71%
The 6 Degrees of Separation rule suggests that through 6 steps (or 6 additional people) we can connect with anyone in the world. This is widely cited now as misleading. In fact only 29% of us are likely to be able to operate the rule. So we need to work harder to be better connected. Some agency and in-company recruiters even evaluate our networking capacity through sites such as Linked In.
8. Building your support network
We all need a leg up sometime. With a strong support network, whether looking for advice, a new role, a referral or a reference, it’s easier when we’re more connected to good, varied work contacts.
9. Increased confidence
When we’re more supported, with access to more skilled people, and advice, then we’re bound to feel more career-confident.
10. Raised Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is what sets leaders from those on lower rungs. It’s the single skill that leaders possess more than others. By developing relationships and becoming more skilled in self-awareness and awareness of others, our EI grows.
11. Realising full value to others
By having more connections, we have more opportunity to do more for others. Being valuable to others is a great reason to network. We like to feel needed.
So most of us can choose at least one of the benefits above to prove networking worthwhile. Plus we might just enjoy it! So as the title suggests, why would you not network?
The key to networking is making it work for you, your resources, your time and your in and out-of-work responsibilities. The good news is that it’s not as much effort as we think – it’s something we already do naturally whether we know it or not.
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