Why is Networking So Important?
Updated: Mar 20
Many people are challenged by the idea of networking as they are uncomfortable putting themselves out there and think that it will require too much effort. Nevertheless, networking is very important and when done properly can be hugely beneficial. Networking is your chance to make more contacts, new friends and can open the door to fresh opportunities. Most importantly, networking is one of the most useful and productive job-hunting activities. It can help you explore and compare different career options. Networking can also provide a doorway to the hidden job market which accounts for a significant number of employment opportunities.
Networking and your job search
Networking helps you to connect with people who are already involved with or experienced in jobs or industries that you may be interested in. By asking questions like ‘How did you get involved in this line of work?’ or ‘What do you really enjoy about your job?’ enables you to gauge whether this job or career is really suitable for you.
Networking can alert you that you may be pursuing the wrong career pathway or job. It helps you find out what a role is really like and can save you time and effort when you identify a job that you do not want to pursue. Now you can spend time researching other career areas that may be more suitable for you.
By making the effort to expand your network, you are maximising the number of job related conversations you may have. This increases your chances of making a good impressions with someone who could help your job search and could lead to a job referral.
Recruiting someone can be a very costly business and in the current challenging job market, employers can’t afford to hire the wrong person. Networking is a convenient way for you and a potential employer to check each other out before either of you commit to a costly, time-consuming recruitment process.
Remember, employers want to hire employees who can hit-the-ground-running and add value without too much training or supervision. They also prefer someone who has a similar work ethic and will be a good fit for their organisation. Companies seeking talent often devise an incentive system whereby current employees are rewarded with a referral bonus if they recommend a candidate who is ultimately hired. By keeping up to date with contacts who are in organisations you may want to work for yourself, you may hear about new and exciting job opportunities that are not widely advertised.
The wider your network and the more often you use it, the more productive it will be. Talk to your friends, relatives or people that you meet as they may advise you of a job that may not have been advertised. Your network needs to be regularly maintained for them to be effective. Keep in contact with your ex-colleagues, past employers, recruiters and where appropriate, meet with them. Remember you should maintain your network even when you are in employment as you never know, there may be an even better role for you just around the corner!
In this current competitive job market, it is important to keep your skills up to date and ensure that you have few gaps in your CV. If no paid jobs are available, by undertaking unpaid work experience and volunteering, you increase your skillset and experience of working in a new environment. A vacancy may arise where you are working and the employer could prefer to hire someone that they already know. Also, given your demonstrated hard work and commitment, your employer is more likely to introduce you to some of their job related network of contacts. And maybe you’ll be the person they think of, the next time they are ready to hire!
It is unsurprising that initially most people find networking challenging. Although it takes time and effort, effective networking can be very productive. You can make valuable new contacts and learn about interesting new careers/job opportunities. Mostly importantly, networking helps you gain access to the hidden job market which now accounts for a significant number of employment opportunities. In order to stay ahead and thrive in this current challenging job market, networking is one of the most important activities that you can do.
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