Building your career requires time, effort and — most importantly — the ability to develop relationships and connections that can help you discover better opportunities for advancement.
When you surround yourself with people who share similar ambitions and drive, it's possible to establish and nurture mutually beneficial, long-term relationships. These associates, acquaintances, friends, family, and business connections are a vital source of information, mentorship, advocacy, and insight that keep you going and can advance your career.
But with remote work here to stay, it can be difficult to form some of these connections naturally. Getting noticed and being visible is significantly harder than usual — but not impossible. Fostering relationships with your peers, colleagues or friends is imperative to growing your network, and it doesn’t stop there.
It is especially vital for individuals to seek out networking opportunities at this time because 85% of job positions are filled via networking. With the COVID-19 pandemic creating an even more competitive job market, every relationship matters.
As more and more organizations turn to virtual conferences, rapid-fire mentoring programs and online chat rooms, the ability to grow your network from anywhere in the world has increased the ease at which you can foster relationships. No longer is time and location a large factor in the connections you can make, and by attending these events you can quickly grow a network of people with similar backgrounds or careers that can help you down the road.
If that doesn’t convince you to prioritize your network, these next benefits will:
One of the main benefits of networking is that it helps you look at situations and problems from different perspectives that you wouldn't have thought otherwise. By talking to experts and other people in a similar field, you can gain insights and ask for opinions in a different light that can help you overcome roadblocks.
Whether you’re discussing your perception about a topic or receiving feedback, networking is an excellent way to share ideas and gain new-found knowledge to broaden your horizon. There will likely be someone who has been in the same position as you are today. They can better mentor and help you by providing you proper advice and resources for success so you can learn from them and avoid common mistakes.
Networking serves as an excellent avenue for career advancement opportunities. When people start to notice you, it naturally drives newer options for you. Engaging with other career and business-minded individuals can act as a stepping stone towards your next career, or introduce you to people who are more influential in your current field.
According to LinkedIn, Eighty-percent of professionals consider networking an important part of career success. Utilizing your network to gain mentors or advocates will help you to earn valuable guidance and insight into common challenges, big decisions and it will ultimately boost your career.
At its core, the purpose of networking is to build and nurture mutual professional relationships. Relationships that can and will last for a lengthy piece of time. However, it is imperative to have the right channel for networking to develop yourself personally as well as professionally.
For example, when working remotely, it is challenging to find networking opportunities that would otherwise be readily available in the workplace. That’s where your long-term relationships come in to help. It might take time and effort to develop and sustain a lasting relationship with your contacts, but putting in the necessary work to dynamically seek out potential opportunities and make the most of your connections is vital.
Networking is designed for sharing and forming relationships to help one another to reach goals. As a result, when you frequently engage with your contacts it enables you to nurture and strengthen your overall business connections which then impacts your own success.
Besides, networking with mentors in similar industries can also help you hone your own business skills. They can introduce you to new strategies and methods to develop a viable business community and a better reputation in the industry at large. You can rely on them to teach you from experience, boost your morale and create positive energy that can propel your success in the long term.
With virtual events offering unlimited opportunities to connect, the time to start focusing on your network is now. Making the most of your networking connections will help you to utilize their relationships and expertise on a larger scale, which can be a game-changer for your business.
Take some time to chat with a professional you’ve never met before at your next training session, webinar or virtual conference and see if you can foster a relationship. Having these connections can provide you a greater chance to get yourself noticed and increase your likelihood of gaining other opportunities. And —who knows— maybe next time there is a global catastrophe, your network can save your career.
If you’re ready to increase your membership organization’s revenue, connect with an entire community of purpose-driven leaders and grow yourself, we’re ready to help you do it.Learn More
Heather Nolan is a marketing specialist at Sidecar. A former journalist and social media manager, Heather lives in New Orleans with her husband, son, and grumpy rescue dog.