Networking: It’s Not What It Used To Be
posted Aug 10, 2017 by Stephanie M. Mansour, MSA, CPA in the Business Blog
We have all been there, sweaty palms, crowded function halls, forced conversation. Networking can be a challenging experience for the newcomer in the professional world. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Networking can be a great way to start building your professional and personal network and a fun way to get to know your peers.
Whether you live and work in a big city or rural community, networking is crucial to employing a successful career, no matter what industry. Not only do you gain professional benefits such as client referrals and future job opportunities, but you build valuable relationships that can last throughout your lifetime and a strong support system to guide you through the challenging times.
Networking as a Millennial
Networking is not what it used to be, the days of business suits and structured meet and greets are a thing of the past. If you’re a young professional and just beginning your career, it’s important to begin building that network and reputation within your chosen profession and local community. Networking can also be a great way to find supporters or mentors that will help you progress in your career, as well as your personal life. There are endless ways to network, so it’s important to find the outlet that’s right for you and your skill set.
The Power of Social Media
Looking for ways to network? Start with social media—more specifically LinkedIn. Never underestimate the power of sharing an interesting article with a peer or client through LinkedIn. More importantly, don’t forget to connect via LinkedIn with business professionals that you meet in your travels, at meetings, at networking events, etc. People will be searching for you, too, so make sure your profile is accurate and up-to-date.
Other Ways to Network
- Love dogs? Volunteer at an adoption event;
- Have a passion for painting? Sign up for a class at your local college;
- Miss your Alma Mater? Join the alumni association;
- Interested in a cause? Join the board of a not-for-profit;
- Is golf is your thing? Join the league at your local country club;
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and go to an event where you don’t know anybody or even try a new hobby for the first time. And don’t forget to follow-up with all the interesting people that you meet. Relationships don’t form overnight, they take time and nurturing so don’t forget to invite the banker you met last week for coffee or the lawyer to your yoga class.
Benefits of Networking
- It allows you to build your professional network;
- You make new friends;
- You might find a mentor;
- You can learn a new skill;
- It is fun!
The biggest secret is that you are already networking in your everyday life. Whether you’re striking up a conversation with someone you see on the train every day, volunteering at your favorite charity, or sharing a blog with someone on social media, it’s all networking. Plus-with Generation Z about to enter the workforce, networking will continue to progress to meet the needs of the market and its participants.