A professional network is the best thing that you don’t have right now. Even more so, a professional network shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a boon to anyone in the job searching process.
Your professional network is one that needs careful cultivating. Make sure it’s already in place before you need it. Just as important is expanding your network. While it might seem weird to make this a part of your work life, the truth is that a professional network is worth the time and energy investment. All relationships work in both directions, so you will ultimately get out of it what you put in.
If you want to improve your overall career prospects, and you’re ready to find a way to tap into the civilian workforce network, career networking should be your top priority. Let’s take a look at what makes up a professional network and how you can create one.
The goal of networking is to build professional relationships with other people who are in the same or similar industries and professions. A robust professional network will come in handy when you need leads on jobs or want someone to take a second look at your resume or online presence. Remember that having just an online connection with your network isn’t as strong as attending in-person networking events.
- Benefits of having a professional network include the following.
Hearing about job opportunities– Often, companies post job openings internally first and externally second. Having a robust network means that you might hear about a position before the rest of the world, which could give you an advantage.
Recommendations from your network to the hiring manager– Personalized recommendations will advance you through the first rounds of resume culling, so you’re more likely to land the job. If someone in your network can vouch for your skills, experience, or work ethic, you’re more likely to be asked to interview than if you didn’t have the recommendation.
Here are a few you can build your network. Remember that the quality of your relationships is more important the quantity. It might be tempting to rush out and connect with hundreds of people, but that’s not going to serve you well in the long run. Instead, focus on building lasting relationships with a select few to start, and then move forward from there.
Connecting with the right people is essential. Reach out to former colleagues, people you might know from schoolhouses and courses, and anyone else you can think of who will be able to vouch for you. Then make sure you’re keeping in regular touch with them. Investing in each relationship will help you, ten-fold. Even if it’s just the occasional message to ask about how someone is doing, the stronger your relationship, the more they’ll be willing to help.
Just as it’s important to create a dynamic virtual network, you also need to attend networking events. This will mean something different for individual industries. But no matter what it means to your field, get out there and do it. Face-to-face networking is super important. Networking events are designed for people just like you to take advantage of professional relationships. Investing in them means you’re ultimately investing in yourself.