Career Tip: Don't neglect professional networking just because you have a job you love right now.
We recently posted this career tip on our socials - and it generated a few internal discussions as to why it's so important to network with industry peers.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of key reasons why you always need to keep up professional networking with new and current industry experts / professional groups.
Professional networking tips
1. Networking enhances your interpersonal skills
Technology is great for communicating, but you still have to interact with people and know how to act professionally to enhance your career.
At any given time, you will need to effectively communicate with your leaders or your peers in your industry. These personal and professional interactions should come naturally to you, and practicing networking can fine tune your communicative skills.
2. Business Leads
Networking is a great way to acquire new business leads, opening doors for your business, directly connecting you with like-minded people and companies.
Always communicate professionally when following up on leads - people act differently in social situations compared to their professional working environment. Just remember to be sensitive to timing, and use common courtesy when following up with contacts, ensuring you don't badger - no one likes pushy people.
3. Career Opportunities
Statistics show that networking is the best way to land a new job. As the old saying goes, 'it's not just what you know, it's who you know'. Often in unstable labour markets, people have found themselves out of work suddenly. Keeping in touch with your professional network can expose you to jobs that aren't posted on job boards or LinkedIn.
Quite often, our recruiters here at Paxus will ask a current contractor or candidate if they know or can recommend someone for a position. Consider making others know who you are, and what qualifications, expertise, and experience you have that could open up doors.
4. Building Confidence
Professional networking builds confidence because you are interacting with others on a regular basis. You feel comfortable speaking about yourself, your role, your job responsibilities, as well as your professional abilities.
Self-confidence is based on experience handling situations both in your personal and professional life. The more you interact with people, the more confident you will become in your approach. Success doesn't happen accidentally, you need to continually work at it - if you are willing to try, you are one step closer to being successful.
5. Personal Opportunities
Networking can also provide a great personal benefit - professional relationships can help identify practical solutions to everyday problems in your personal life.
For example, you can use your network to find a contractor to help you with a project on your home, or to help you find a sporting group to join. People also often like being asked for their personal opinion, and will often give it if they are happy or disgruntled about a service or a company. You can use this to assess the merit of a product or service you are considering. Weaving personal conversations into your network can also help others get to know you in a social way, building the relationship, and trust. If someone shares a personal opportunity with you, ask them next time you see them how it went, and if it worked - how is it? You can make some great personal friends at networking events as you are mixing with like-minded people that have similar interests.
6. Recognising Best Practices
Networking is a great way to identify best practice and industry benchmarks. Learning from what others do is a valuable strategy for all businesses, and ensures you are on top of industry standards.
For example, if you work as a part of a company that has a continuous improvement program, you can find out about the latest software programs, qualifications, and quality improvements that can help improve your processes.
7. Support and Guidance
You're likely to be faced with several different tests and tribulations throughout the lifetime of your career.
Calling on your professional contacts in times of need might help you to get your head around some of the challenges you may face. Experience generally is the key in navigating difficult situations, and your network can often reassure you of the decision you are making, or guide you through challenging times. Consider a mentor - people like to help someone progress their career further. They will be there in the trying times, and of course, there to celebrate the good moments. By opening chains of communication within your professional network, you will provide an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship that will facilitate the success of your career.
Looking for more career advice? Check out our other career tips here.