Networking is essential for your career success, especially in today’s competitive job market. Whether you are looking to stay informed on your industry trends, advance your career, or find new opportunities, the importance of building a strong and supportive network to help you navigate your professional career journey can’t be overlooked.

What is networking

Networking involves meeting new people within a supportive system for the purpose of exchanging information and/or services among individuals, groups, or institutions. Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term and mutually beneficial relationships over time, and in return, it will help build up your confidence, create a reputation for yourself, and advance your career while helping others to do the same.

Benefits of networking

Let’s start by looking at some statistics below:

  • 85% of jobs are filled via networking, Lou Adler on LinkedIn
  • 70% of all jobs are not published publicly on job sites, CNBC
  • 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection, and
  • 80% of professionals considered networking important to career success, LinkedIn

Now, let’s dive in and look at some benefits of networking for your career.

1. Exchange knowledge, experience, and ideas

Networking gives you the opportunity to meet and learn from others. You can learn and be inspired by others’ successes and avoid failures or setbacks from their experience and wisdom. The sharing of knowledge, insights, experience, industry trends, and ideas is truly the essence of networking. It may give you some fresh thoughts and ideas that have not occurred to you before.

2. Broaden your perspectives and connections

Working alone or working within a familiar team environment sometimes limits your thinking and approaches to challenges. Networking on the other hand broadens your sources of information and allows you to bounce ideas off of others and gain insights with a fresh perspective, which in return helps you foster creativity and innovation.

Networking will also connect you with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Regardless their industry and job titles, nor if they can make immediate contribution to your growth, having a network of friendly professionals on your side will always help, support and nurture you for future growth and development.

3. Get advice, support, and mentorship

Once you build trustworthy and valuable relationships with others, you can seek their advice for problems at work, challenges at hand, or even your future career development. Furthermore, you may find someone who you respect and look up to to be your mentor. Having someone you respect and admire on your side will not only help you with your growth, but it will also help and encourage you to become a mentor to others someday.

4. Grow your confidence, listening, communication, and interpersonal skills

Networking could be intimidating for many; however, stepping out of your comfort zone to converse with others will boost your confidence over time. You also get to practice your communication, listening, and interpersonal skills while you learn about people you meet. The more you do it, the less anxious you will feel carrying on a conversation with strangers.

5. Exposed to other and new opportunities

As mentioned above, 85% of jobs are filled via networking, which means many learn about new and exciting career opportunities before the jobs are even posted for the public. After all, it’s all about knowing the right people who will share those opportunities with you and may also furthermore connect you directly to the hiring manager with recommendations.

6. Develop long-lasting relationships

Networking isn’t just about getting in and out of the events, shaking as many hands and exchanging as many business cards possible. The ultimate goal is to develop and nurture trustworthy, valuable, and mutually beneficial relationships with others with whom you can support and grow together with.

Networking tips

In this section, I will cover some networking tips that will help develop your networking skills for future career success.

1. Make a plan and set goals

Everything starts with a plan and goal setting, which will help you stay on track and accomplish what you set out to do.

What are your goals or needs of networking? Are you looking for a mentor, preparing for a career change, gaining industry insights, or simply expanding your network of connections? How many people are you planning to meet and have meaningful and memorable conversations before the event is over?

Another important part of your plan is to also crystalize what you can offer to others. I am not talking about selling your products and services, but something about you that you can offer to help others to grow just like how you desire growth. Write down a few things that you can share with others. While you plan to get what you want out of networking, you may be surprised how much value you can bring to others.

2. Go with your own style

Be yourself. Be comfortable. Behave professionally and respectfully, but never lose your personality and charm. If you are more comfortable with one-on-one conversations, warm up by walking up and introduce yourself to that person who’s standing there alone, or a very small group of people in the middle of the conversation. Find your own style, go with your own pace, and the more you put yourself out there, the easier networking will become for you.

3. Start with those who you know

If you find talking to strangers challenging, connecting with the people you’ve already crossed paths with is a good way to start. Start with your professional friends, current and/or ex coworkers, classmates/alumni, or supervisors. Joining groups of your personal or professional interests or associations or finding a local Toastmasters chapter to perfect your presentation and communication skills may also be good considerations for you. When I first entered the workplace decades ago, I joined Toastmasters. It not only helped me polish my communication skills, but it also helped me overcome my fear toward networking with a new group of people.

4. Build your online presence

Do you have a good and professional presence online? More networking is being conducted online these days than ever. So make sure you have a polished online profile to showcase your interests, skills, accomplishments, and experiences. In addition, you can easily join groups that align with your goals and desire which further allows you to connect with others worldwide.

5. Attend business events or seminars

Make a goal to attend a trade show, job fair, conference, workshop, or join some associations, so networking becomes a regular activity you are always involved with. Start with one event and then add more once you feel more comfortable.

6. Listen attentively when networking

Many are eager to tell others what they are looking for or offer solutions for problems they think they just heard. Slow down, spend more time listening than talking, and ask good questions. Active listening helps you focus on the conversation and get inside the speaker’s perspective. You can read more about the techniques to foster active listening skills.

7. Take action and be persistent

As daunting or intimidating networking sounds to you, the two biggest challenges are one psychological, and two lack of preparation. Overcome your fear and hurdles, practice, and take that tiny baby step forward. It will only get easier and better after that. Be consistent! Consistency and persistency will pay off at the end.

Networking offers various benefits; from building professional connections to career opportunities/success to a great wealth of contacts. It also stretches you to grow out of your comfort zone to build your self-confidence and broaden your horizon and relationships. I hope the networking tips above give you the basic guideline as you start branching out to others to foster your and their career successes.

P.S. Dale Carnegie’s timeless bestseller, “How to win friends and influence people.” Highly recommended!


Photo by Erika Giraud on Unsplash







About Faye Weng

Your Online Life and Career Coach

Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.