Most people shy away from networking. It can be intimidating, awkward, draining, and time-consuming. When so many of us are already pressed for time, the last thing we want to do at the end of a long day is attend a “networking event.” We’d much rather meet up with friends, check in with our families, or just sit in front of the TV for a few hours. But networking can be extremely valuable, for finding a new job and advancing your career. Here are three reasons why networking can lead to a better job.
Why Should I Network More Often?
1. Pay it forward
Networking isn’t a one-stop shop—a good network is just a really good circle of friends. It’s people who will help you and to whom you can return the favor. Everyone likes people who are helpful, so good things will happen to those people. If you can do a favor for someone else, they’re more likely to make a referral for you or hook you up with someone who can. And the right employee referral can increase your chances of landing the job by a lot. If you can grow your network into more than just a list of contacts, but a series of meaningful relationships, then when the time comes for you to change jobs, you can tap into those valuable connections for referrals, insights, and other key information.
2. Explore new options
Let’s say you’re thinking of a career change into a different industry. Before you take a massive leap into something brand new, ask people you know what they think. Ask for advice and insights from industry insiders. Ask for tips from people who’ve made a similar leap. And ask someone if you can shadow with their company for a few days. This way, you’re not leaping industries blindly and stupidly—you’re instead gathering as much information as possible so you can make an educated choice about one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
3. Make a personal connection
Networking is the leading way to get a new job. It’s estimated that 60-80% of jobs are found through networking, meaning it’s much more effective than filling out an online application. You should be establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. Look for opportunities everywhere—the guy who parks your car, someone at the place you volunteer, someone you bump into at an industry, or even just your neighbor. You never know who will be able to help your job search. So put yourself out there, give it a try, and don’t forget to follow up with people