Networking can be very helpful to your career.
The idea is to develop a network of friendly people who
share information to help each other. It is best known
as a strategy for opening the hidden job market, for getting
a good job. Since many jobs (some would say most) are not
advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships
with people who can tip you off to job openings -- perhaps
even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring.
There is some truth in, "It's not what you know, but
who you know."
Networking has other benefits. You are creating a community of people who support
each other, who provide emotional support and information that will help each
other. You will learn of new developments in your field: new tools, processes,
leaders, training programs, products and services. You may discover the solution
to a problem you face at work. And, you may have the satisfaction of providing
the key piece of information that makes a real difference in the life of one
of those in your network.
Networking is a planned, and ongoing effort. You set goals, develop strategies
for achieving them, take action, evaluate how well your plan is working, and
make changes as necessary. It is something that you do throughout your career.
To build an effective network, you need both formal and informal networks in
place. Formal networks are the type you actually join, usually with dues and
regular meetings. These could include a professional association, a group like
the Lion's Club, or an association of school graduates. Informal networks may
include friends you run into at an annual holiday party, friends you keep up
with from a former job, people from your church, mosque, or synagogue, or the
people you met while white-water rafting. A good network contains both types
and has a healthy mix of both business and social conditions.
Here are five steps for building your network: