How to Network: Long-Term Strategy
The importance of networking (and how to do it)
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, networking is a tried-and-tested strategy for success. In fact, according to one estimate, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. While it can be something we dread and try to avoid at all costs, there’s no denying that it’s extremely beneficial. It’s certainly worth making the effort to do it whenever you can! Before we share some advice on how to get started with networking, let’s remind ourselves of why it’s worthwhile in the first place.
The benefits of networking
Whether you’re changing careers and starting afresh in a brand new industry or simply looking to establish yourself in your current field, networking will help you discover opportunities, grow your expertise, and make connections with others who can offer advice and support. Those are the obvious benefits of networking, but what you may not know is that it can also help you to broaden your horizons and gain new perspectives, to build confidence in yourself and your professional abilities, and to hone essential soft skills like communication and empathy. When you consider all the benefits, it’s clear that networking really is an essential part of building a successful career. So how can you get started? Let’s take a look.
Networking tips: How to get started
For many, the mere thought of networking is enough to make them shudder. But times have changed, and networking is no longer limited to attending big, crowded events where you have to pluck up the courage to “work the room” and strike up awkward conversations with strangers. If that’s not your scene, you’ll be pleased to know that you can network just as successfully online, from the safety of your computer. If you’re brand new to networking, start small. Reach out to a few people on LinkedIn and strike up a conversation. Did you read an article you enjoyed recently? Connect with the author and send a message to let them know how much you enjoyed their content. Did you watch a webinar and come away feeling really energized? Connect with the speaker and tell them!
It might seem like a small step, but it’s a great way to get started. Your network—and your confidence—will soon grow, and you’ll find it gets easier the more you do it. Of course, networking is as much about quality as it is about quantity, so focus on building meaningful connections. Once you’re ready for the next step in your networking strategy, check out these ten guaranteed tips to become an online networking pro, and be sure to watch the video at the top of this page.
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Jeffrey Paul Coleman
Career Specialist at CareerFoundry & Career Coach
Jeffrey's career started reading books. When he realized his fascination with teaching and medieval history was less related to the academic setting and more to the joy of learning the stories of others, he entered the working world of NYC and found opportunity to meet more people across various industries. He worked as a caterer, film intern, tutor, Ops Specialist, and UX/Product Recruiter before moving to France in Jan 2020 with wife & daughter to expand his network further! (That's right: he wanted to learn more the stories of other people and help them on their way.) With previous work scaling several Mentorship Groups, co-organizing 20+ events, and volunteering in support of multiple non-profits, he has felt tangibly the benefits of investing in community. Now a career specialist at CareerFoundry, Jeffrey enjoys empowering others every day and looks forward to sharing with you "networking" tactics & strategies that can help you get where you want to go and maybe make some friends along the way too.