The benefits of networking – for jobseekers and the general world of work
Networking can be hugely useful for jobseekers – and at any time in your career.
Everyone has heard about the importance of networking when it comes to looking for a new job, whether it’s a first step onto the career ladder or a role that will help you move up in your chosen field.
However, it can seem daunting and many people might assume they don’t really know how to go about it. If you think about networking in a broader sense though, the chances are you’ll realise reaching out and creating meaningful contacts isn’t as tricky as you imagine.
There are some obvious benefits too – here are just a few reasons why you should put on a smile or pen a friendly email and get your name out there.
It can open up jobs that aren’t advertised
While companies are mostly obliged to advertise roles in the interests of fairness, they can sometimes need new members of staff without even realising it themselves. If you meet the CEO at a trade show and chat about your specialities and area of expertise, they might realise how that know-how could be useful in their organisation – and then invite you to perform it.
It can put you at the top of the callback list
Sending off CVs is a vital way of letting people know you’re in the market for a new position, but yours may be just one in a large pile. If you’ve attended an event where your dream firm had a presence though, your name might be remembered the next time that pile is reviewed. And since people mostly tend to do business with people they know and like, you increase your likelihood of getting an interview.
You can spot new opportunities
Networking isn’t just about attending corporate events – you’re doing it every time you chat to someone at Pilates or on your commute. Make time to talk properly to friends, aunties and anyone else you know rather than chatting about the weather and you could realise they know someone or something that could help you out in your career.
It can help you build a reputation
If you’re getting your name and business experience ‘out there’, it boosts your chances of being spotted and viewed as an expert in your field. For instance, if you’re a writer specialising in technology and you guest blog for a friend (because you’re helping them out as part of your networking), someone else might call on you when they next need a writer with technological expertise.
You’ll build communication skills and confidence
Since networking requires a leap of faith, it can help formerly shy people to increase their confidence and provide vital interview preparation for those who thought they were reasonably self-assured in the first place. As you chat, practise projecting positive body language and overcoming any social stress you might be feeling – this will come in handy in future.
By regularly networking and introducing yourself to people you don’t know, you’ll be making valuable connections and building strong relationships that could help you land your dream job.
Don’t forget that it works both ways though – be available to help other people who are networking too (even if it means eating into your free time a little) and they might one day remember your name when they’re in a position to give back.