Why We Love Networking (and so should you!)

Networking. A straightforward and yet perplexing task that we must all partake in multiple times over the course of our lives. Networking is the process of creating connections with others who might later help you professionally. Now, people in your network are not all necessarily business partners; I count friends and family in my network, as do many other people. But the process of networking is essential for finding new job opportunities, and potentially helping others to do the same. At Career Solutions Group, in fact, one of the things we help clients to do is grow a professional network.

Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies concisely states that “Networking is all about building mutually beneficial professional relationships” (39). I believe this most accurately captures the importance of networking for a job seeker; it is through their network that most professionals find new employment opportunities. Likewise, these same professionals may later provide employment possibilities to others in their network, hence characterizing networking as “mutually beneficial.”

And yet, this mutually beneficial process is either unknown or disliked by many people. A study done on why people dislike networking (link here) demonstrated that people frequently felt “dirty” after going to networking events, especially if they hold lower positions of power in a company. One of the minds behind the study suggested that this was because networking isn’t an entirely “altruistic” process, making people feel smarmy and ingratiating. However, I would like to propose a different way to look at networking.

Networking isn’t just about you, even though it might feel like it. Networking is about solving other people’s problems. When you decide to professionally connect with someone, you are offering to be a resource for them in the future. Hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with applications to sift through; you are offering to make their lives and the lives of others at the company easier by preemptively offering your services. You have skills to share with the world, and you are making those skills known to people who might want to use them.

So the next time you go to a networking event, let this ease your discomfort. You are there for yourself, true, but you are also there for other people, helping fill gaps and smooth transitions. Take a deep breath, put on your best smile, and remember that networking is mutually beneficial: after all, in a few years you might be helping someone in a similar position.

In the middle of a job search? Hoping to make a career transition, but not sure where to start? Email us at info@careersolutionsgroup.net. We offer free initial consultations, and we have proven methods to help you follow your career goals.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group

Waldman, Joshua. Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011. Print