Written by Dave Cullen
As we have discussed in our previous career networking blog, “How to use Networking to Find a Job”, the process of building a broad contacts base is an excellent way of discovering new job opportunities. Developing and maintaining strong connections with professional people will provide you with a powerful career resource in which to tap into.
Many people make the mistake of only growing and nurturing their network when they are in the process of a job search. Successful networking is not about adopting a Machiavellian or individualistic approach to using your contacts. Ultimately you can only maintain connections with people who want to maintain a connection with you. To this end, it is vitally important that you provide as much support and assistance to those in your network as you expect to receive from them. A mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationship is the foundation of a high quality and valuable network. Keeping in at least semi-regular contact with friends, former bosses, work colleagues or college professors whether you are employed or not, will ensure you have plenty of support when you need it the most.
The following is a list of some of the benefits of establishing a strong professional network.
Although you may not always be looking to change jobs, if you have an extensive pool of associations; you will likely be provided with regular insights into a broad spectrum of career opportunities. Candidates, who are referred for a position through a close contact, are 50% more likely to be hired over an applicant who applies through conventional means.
Advice & Support:
At some point in your career, you will likely require mentoring or guidance from a trusted advisor. Building a considerable network of industry connections will ensure you have plenty of support to draw on. Whether you are considering a major career change, or simply need perspective on some of the challenges in your current job, the benefits of having a helpful contacts base cannot be underestimated.
In order to achieve a satisfying and successful career, personal and professional development is crucial. A wide and varied network can provide you with not only support and advice as mentioned above, but also inspiration and encouragement to seize new opportunities and pursue professional goals.
Each member of your network will possess their own unique set of life experiences, some of it will be useful to you, and some of it will not be. However, when you combine all of the invaluable information that’s relevant to your situation, you potentially have a vast knowledgebase of career advice.