Friday, March 7, 2014

The Meaning of Networking

Networking is the idea of developing contacts and getting to know people. It includes building relationships with others for purposes of recognizing, creating, or acting upon opportunities. By developing long-term relationships for mutual gain and creating lasting impressions with people you will be learning a life skill which has many applications both personally and professionally.

About 20% of people are born with the natural tendency of being shy. Whether you love or hate talking to groups of people, making those key relationships is crucial in order to succeed as a Networker.  Before becoming a Master Networker you must be willing to take time getting to know your own interests, skills, and values while keeping your ultimate career goal in mind. Developing business cards and maintaining an online presence are also important when preparing to network just in case you want to follow up with someone. And last but not least, when networking, the most important step is being able to comfortably talk about yourself for a specific period of time.  

Networking in today’s age comes with a lot of benefits, including tapping in to the ‘Hidden Job Market’. Eighty percent (80%) of jobs today are not advertised online or posted on company job boards. A large portion of the ‘Hidden Job Market’ comes from Networking, Referrals, or Recruiters.  Networking is great for sharing ideas and gaining knowledge from others through idea generation and perspective. When engaging in conversation with someone and establishing a relationship it is important to note that you have now made a connection with the individual who could also connect you with one of their connections. The more you network in general the more your confidence begins to increase as well. You begin to raise your profile and people begin to recognize you, which helps build your reputation as well. It is important to note that although you may not be job hunting, it is always a good idea to continually expand your network.

Erik Gunn, Fourth Year (BBA) - Finance

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