How Networking Can Open Doors and Advance Your Career
“Networking is not just about connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”
–Michele Jennae, author, The Connectworker
“The way of the world is meeting people through other people.”
–Robert Kerrigan, author
“Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting.”
–Ivan Misner, BNI
These three quotes, plucked from thousands on networking, capture the essence of what networking is, how it’s done, and why it benefits you—no matter where you are on your career journey.
For recent graduates just starting out, or those professionals making a career change, networking is crucial to the job search. For those looking to advance into a new role or opportunity, networking often provides the ideal connection. The more your career advances, after all, the more it is about who you know.
Consider how these benefits of networking can open doors and help you advance your career.
Of course, many of us think of networking as a way to source new job opportunities. Whether you’re looking to live in your dream city or facing a job search because of your spouse’s relocation, networking is often the first place to start when seeking a new role. Actively networking, though, can often yield hidden job opportunities—the kind of ideal role that you come across when you weren’t even officially looking yet.
Access to experts
With 590 million users, LinkedIn has made many experts just a connection (or two or three) away from your reach. Consider how easy it is to follow experts and learn from them, or to connect with the local experts in your own industry, market, or company.
Insights, inspiration, and new ideas
Related to the connection-to-experts idea is the great benefit of tapping into a world of ideas, inspiration, and insights, all available to you through your network. Whether through social media, professional association membership, or a face-to-face coffee meeting, you can continually glean new perspectives on what is happening in your industry and similar roles.
In a sales role? Looking to make the leap to consulting? Your network is a natural source of leads and connections, as long as you’ve invested the time and effort into building and sustaining it.
Think of the power of your network as a career education tool. Follow those who are one, two, or three levels above you to see how they steer their careers. Consume content on career advice. Seek out connections who might have advice to counsel you.
Referrals and recommendations
Your network is an amplification of your own eyes and ears, effectively giving you the eyes and ears of hundreds (if you build it well). You can find a second- or third-degree connection who can put in a word for you on a job application you’re really excited about. On the other side, you can find a connection who can refer fresh talent to you if you’re hiring.
Your network is much more than a source of connections to your next job. It’s a collection of experts, often passionate about the same things you are, who can help you learn, grow, and advance. Be sure you’re setting aside the time to invest in it properly, for now and the future.
Since 1939, DallasHR has served Dallas-area HR professionals, helping them advance their careers and build their networks through education, events, and support. With more than 2,200 engaged members, DallasHR is the nation’s third-largest affiliate chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). DallasHR powers The HRSouthwest Conference, the official State of Text SHRM Conference and—with 2,300 annual attendees, speakers, and exhibitors— one of the largest regional human resources events in the US.