What words come to mind when you think of “networking”? If you’re like some of our team members, your words might all be synonyms for “torture”. The pandemic might then have been a relief in some way. You can attend events from the comfort of your own home, keep your video off and get away without saying a word.
However, despite some negative feelings, networking can be a powerful tool to help you advance your career. Virtual work and virtual networking are the new norm for the foreseeable future, this article explores the importance of networking for your career and provides a few virtual networking tips.
The importance of networking for your career
- Your network is your resource
Access to support and/or advice from experts is now more important than ever. Your network is a source of knowledge and information you can tap into. The more diverse and widespread your network, the more likely you are to have access to resources about different topics and various situations.
- Networking allows you to exchange fresh ideas
You can thus gain access to new knowledge, thoughts and opinions by talking to people from different backgrounds with different areas of expertise. You can share challenges, best practices and tips with others in your field and in other fields.
- You become more visible
The more you network and speak to people, the more people know you and are likely to think of you when they need support or information. You can become one of the “go-to” people in your field.
- You are able to help others
Not only does helping others make it easier for you to ask for favours when you need them, it also feels pretty good.
- Networking boosts your self esteem
Talking to and helping different people can build confidence.
- Networking opens doors to new opportunities
The right professional network can help you get promoted, renegotiate terms at your current workplace, find new career avenues or positively influence decisions in your field. At the same time meeting new people can also bring benefits beyond new career opportunities, it can inspire you to start new hobbies, learn about new things and even find some new virtual friends.
While the benefits are clear, networking might not seem easy for some. The important part is to be yourself, be genuine, plan ahead of time and focus first on building connections, not on how people can help you. We have also put together a list of tips (see infographic) for navigating networking in the virtual world. We hope these help you have successful future networking endeavours!