By | Rakshitha | www.jobsforher.com
What is Networking?
Networking is the definitive answer to professional success. It is a tested method across the globe and many women leaders have attributed their success to networking. Networking, in general, is the boon to your career that you have always been waiting for.
Career networking involves you associating with fellow professionals to make contacts and circulate information that will benefit you in any possible way.
While building your network you build a networking circle. Within this circle, you maintain a ‘give & take’ relationship, i.e., follow the primary rule of networking; you should always be of some help to someone and only then, expect something from them. This is why you should always build relationships that are mutually beneficial.
One thing to remember while networking is that no networking is bad networking. Your end goal while networking is to increase the number of quality contacts you have. Networking, or simply being a part of a networking group, has endless benefits, some of which include opportunities to:
- Build strong business connections
- Get access to job opportunities
- Make a leap ahead in your career
- Gain fresh perspectives
- More industry-related knowledge
…and many more benefits that will boost your career’s momentum.
Is there a difference in the way men and women network?
The popular notion is that networking is different for men and women, but, in reality, the only difference lies in the approach that men and women choose.
Women usually tend to form connections that go beyond their professional commitments or relationships. Women are seen as being empathetic with each other.
Men, on the other hand, build their network solely based on the need of the hour. They maintain a strict work-related relationship with their connections.
Another thing to think about when it comes to the gender difference in networking is this — according to an article by Shama Hyder, Founder and CEO, Zen Media, in Inc., although women are considered better at communication, they seem to have less business-related connections than men.
Regardless of these notions, it is time women understood the kind of impact networking has on their career and grab every chance they get to network.
Why Women Should Network
- Networking is the key that will boost your career
Lou Adler’s article on LinkedIn shows that most job vacancies are filled by networking rather than going through the traditional job search process.
Caroline Castrillon in her article for Forbes says that women who spent time networking advanced in their career with a higher rate than those who didn’t dedicate themselves to networking.
In a way, your networking group can simply be considered as your niche for information regarding your career.
Even when you are looking for a job, your networking circle will know exactly what you are looking for, so you become the first one to hear about any job opening. This way, networking adds the oomph factor to your career.
- Networking will make you a part of a close-knit group of women professionals
Women often tend to forget the importance of being in a group with similar-minded career-oriented women.
By being in a networking group with other women like you, your chances of getting tested and practical solutions to your career-related problems is guaranteed.
Moreover, women tend to hesitate when they have to network with men. For those who hesitate, being a part of a group of women becomes a lot easier.
One of the ways to build a strong networking circle is by attending networking events hosted by companies and personality development organisations (eg: Reality Check by JobsForHer), joining Groups on JobsForHer and being active on social networking platforms. Basically, any situation where you can build business-related connections.
Once your networking circle is ready, you’re half way there on your quest for a successful career.
- Strategic networking can get you closer to your goals
When your networking group consists of women from different fields holding different positions, you tend to receive holistic information regarding work trends and practices everywhere.
This is where ‘strategic networking’ comes into the picture. Strategic networking, in simple terms, means networking keeping in mind your end goal.
In strategic networking, you have to set goals for yourself every time before you network. You have to have an agenda, plan whom you are meeting and what exactly you are seeking from them. This way you build a resourceful network for yourself.
Through strategic networking, you have a network that will give you fresh perspectives about work-related matters every time.
- Networking will make you a successful leader and mentor
When you have a strong networking circle as a leader, you get an insight on the reality of your workplace.
As a woman leader, you are already aware of the issues that women usually face and you can work towards solving them by discussing women-related issues with the management of an organisation.
Taking networking one step ahead, you can become a mentor for other women who are career-oriented, like you. This way, networking not only makes you a leader, but also helps you take the baton ahead.
Networking, in general, is developing practices that will help you make the most out of every professional gathering you attend.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind while networking:
- Prepare for every networking interaction
- Keep your 30-Second pitch ready. Read more about crafting the perfect 30-Second pitch here.
- Research about the people you are going to meet beforehand
- Keep your conversations interesting
- Always remember to give before you take
- Remember everyone’s name around you
- Make sure people want to build a network with you
Now that you know what networking is, why you should network, and how you can build a network that will take you forward in your career, go ahead and build a network to start, restart and rise in your career!