When you hear people talk about “networking,” what do you think of? If it’s swanky parties in nice mansions, you’re probably not thinking about the kind of networking we are.
Trying to break into a new career can be tough. Everyone knows how hard it is to get a job, let alone a decent-paying job that you enjoy. Networking is one of the best tools you have to get there.
In a nutshell, networking means reaching out and making professional connections with people in your field. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Today, we’re going to look at some of the best ways to expand your network, and what it can do for your career.
What Can Networking Do For You?
When you know the right people, doors can open that you would have never expected. Knowing the hiring manager at a local firm can get you first notice when a job position opens up. This can mean you’re one of the first people to sit down for an interview. In some fields, it’s more about who you know than what you know.
Of course, just knowing the right people isn’t everything. You still need to be a dedicated hard worker, with the right qualifications and a willingness to learn. But knowing the right people can get you in the right place at the right time. Someone putting a good word in for you with their boss is as good as any glowing recommendation from a prior employer.
How to Network Effectively
If you’re currently working in a job with no upward opportunities, you might not be sure how to network. After all, it might seem strange for you to approach people in a field that has nothing to do with yours. However, there are some ways around this. The biggest one is using online platforms, like LinkedIn.
LinkedIn lets you build a virtual network of professional contacts, which could pay off for you in the long run.
You could also get the ball rolling by visiting career fairs, speaking to placement agencies, or similar worker resources. These opportunities often allow you to get in on the ground floor of an organization and make connections with people in the field you want to be a part of.
Finally, it’s alright to reach out to personal friends or family. Maybe you have personal contacts in a field you’d like to get into. Reach out to the people close to you and see if they can introduce you to some professional contacts. This way, you get your foot in the door, and a new professional contact can help your applications get on the right desks.