Networking is one of the great methods of obtaining contacts and finding new jobs or expanding your knowledge base within your current occupation on the way to climbing the ladder within your company. Simply put, the goal of networking is to come in contact with different people and build your virtual RolodexÂ to make yourself more marketable to your current or future employers.
Because you’re an enterprising person, you’re already aware of the different types of marketing events. These events can be formal or informal. There’s really no set template as to how a networking event should or shouldn’t unfold. The only requirement is that you’re there, you’re engaging and you’re not shamelessly selling yourself, your company and/or your qualifications for a job.
The goal with networking is building relationships with other people, and by building these relationships, your personal and professional life will be that much richer and fulfilling. This helps you as a job seeker or as someone seeking to rise within your current company. The intangible benefits like the increased self-confidence and having a balanced life can’t be quantified.
Because you’re looking to create a network, there are two types of networking circles you should be keenly aware of. They are informally known as intra-professional networks and extra-professional networks.
- Intra-professional networks exist exclusively within your current occupation. For example, if you’re a teacher this network consists exclusively of fellow teachers. Events that you’d attend to network would be union meetings or professional development workshops. Similar to accountants, lawyers and other specialized professions, you’d build relationships with those who have the same job as you. This is excellent for developing your skills within your chosen profession and gets you in touch with possible new tracks within this career.
- Extra-professional networks are groups of people with diverse occupations. Take the teacher from the prior example. This network would consist of teachers, lawyers, doctors and accountants. These networks also can come together informally. Perhaps you’re an avid golfer and so is your neighbor. You both invite other friends and now your foursome is a group of diverse professionals. By having a group of people that diverse, it increases your ability to provide and obtain referrals. This is great for business, and also if you’re looking for a career change, that can help get a foot in the door.
Ultimately, networking is something that is required in today’s increasingly competitive job market. Having extensive intra-professional and extra-professional networks can help you move up within your job and/or get involved in a new career. The possibilities are endless so go meet some new people!