Professional Networking (For Beginners)

Professional Network

What is a Professional Networking?

Networking is any means of interacting with others to exchange ideas and develop professional or social contacts. Every day we network with others, whether it be a quick conversation with a stranger or running an idea past a close friend. When it comes to professional networking, though, you should weed out common friendships and focus on the connections that can help you advance. Although networking happens regularly, it is important to understand why building a professional network is specifically beneficial for succeeding.

Understanding Your Professional Network

Everyone has heard that you are a combination of your five closest friends. In addition, these five friends will have a strong factor in how you develop as a person. Your closest friends are your network, and they can determine your personal development. In addition, they will also play a strong role in your climb or fall towards finding success.

When you think about successful people and study the steps they took to achieve success, they often share many similar attributes. For example, they are driven, can focus on difficult tasks, and are excellent in their specific skill set. Something possibly more important is the network of people that the successful person has surrounded himself or herself with. You should realize why a network is so important and start to build a professional network for yourself.

Why is Professional Networking Important?

Networking is a crucial part of becoming successful. You can build lasting and powerful relationships with others who have a similar mindset and goals as you. By building networks, you are essentially signing a contract putting your brains together to benefit both parties mutually.

In Robert Kiyosaki’s book The Business School: For People Who Like Helping People, he makes the point that “The richest people in the world build networks. Everyone else is trained to look for work.”. The significance of this is that wealthy and successful people often establish their own networks and use them to create success. They often avoid working for someone else and serving as a lower function in someone else’s network.

Building a network is not the only key to finding success, but your efforts and achievements will increase exponentially through a network. You can shif the weight of a project from being all on your shoulders to shared among group members. This will result in less pressure to slow down or quit when times are tough and more motivation to power through and accomplish the goal as a team.

How to Build a Professional Network?

There are several resources and options when establishing a network, but here is are a few ways to get started.

1. School/University

Building a network at your school can be a great opportunity if you are a student or recent alumni. By starting at your school, you have the advantage of already being surrounded by educated and similarly-minded students. They are likely ambitious and looking for work the same as you. Also, by joining the school clubs and registered student organizations, you will put yourself in an environment with plenty of networking potential.

2. Work

Establishing a professional network with co-workers has many advantages as well. By looking to build a network with co-workers, you can choose who you want to work with based on how you have seen them perform in their positions at your job. Also, as a co-worker, you will already know if your personalities and work ethics would work well together or not.

3. LinkedIn/Online

Online methods such as LinkedIn can be another great opportunity when building your network. LinkedIn is mentioned because it is currently the largest professional networking platform available, and it is free to use. In addition, LinkedIn offers search features that allow you to find a community based on common interests, experiences, skills, or other categories. These can help you find people to network with. The benefits of networking online are that you can talk with people who you might never get to meet face-to-face, collaborate online, and expand your network quickly and efficiently.

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