By now all of you must have heard about social networking
in some form or the other, unless of course, you have woken up after a really long hibernation. However, there is another form of networking that is catching up in attention and importance for working population of the planet; Professional Networking. More about the same in the following post.
What is Professional Networking?
Professional networking is the process of making new connections and building relationships with other users, most of which are your existing and ex-colleagues or professionals belonging to your discipline. The motive is to solve business goals and objectives, maintain current with the changing trends of industry or find a new career opportunity. The process uses features that are typically premise of social networking sites
like Facebook or LinkedIn. Having a large professional network gives you access to more people who can help you solve problems more efficiently and cost effectively.
How networking became an essential professional skill?
Networking is increasingly finding a place in the “essential requirements” list of employers. It is being promoted as a business as well as a personal social skill. Research have shown that a particular type of network lead to exceptional individual creativity which was a hallmark of icons such as Picasso, Freud and Pythagoras. The phenomenon of networking has existed for over 2000 years and has helped the mankind’s survival in the toughest of situations.
Today’s talent managers conclude that networking is an invaluable professional skill and the best way of getting a new job. The more diverse network is, the better chances are for promotions and other opportunities. Some business authors maintain that there are three networks that are vital for success. The first one is operational, for day to day work (which may refer to your office colleagues or even the milk vendor who gets you milk daily). The second network is developmental, an inner circle of friends whom you can trust and look up to for advice and the final is strategic, which comprises of people who can help you shape your future. More importantly, networking is not about how others can help you. Rather, it is about others and how you can help them.
Professional networking basics
Many consider building a powerful professional network is like building a secret army that comprises of individuals who know people at high places and do miraculous things. Nothing could be further from truth. To say it in the simplest possible words, a “professional network” is a bunch of friends who are willing to help each other when times get tough professionally.
Here is one way to understand its usefulness. Perhaps you are not very excited about your current job and given a chance you would like to try your hands at something new and refreshing, something that has better career potential. However, you do not want to go through the usual grind of updating your resume
and applying to countless jobs online, waiting for recruiters to give you a call. Instead you tell a group of close professional friends and ask them to let you know if they come across a suitable opportunity. You need someone who will keep it private but also give you great advice on next steps and connects you with the right people. This is what LinkedIn was created for.
Advice on using LinkedIn for professional networking: The world’s largest professional network is a powerful social network, personal branding platform, news aggregator and what not. The site lets you find other business associates, clients, and colleagues, many of those whom you already know and others with whom you would like to build a professional relationship. The site offers features through which you “connect” with them and they then become part of your network.
LinkedIn helps you to stay up-to-date with industry trends and share information with others who are in the same industry as yours or are independent professionals in the same field. Besides networking, you can also use the site as a platform for asking questions or discussions using the LinkedIn Answers feature. By offering your advice on topics related to your field, you are building yourself a credible reputation as an expert.
Dos and Don’ts of Professional Networking:
It is important to set goals for networking. This might be creating a particular number of new connections or following up with the old ones within a definite time constraint. Besides, it is important to keep your business cards handy at all times as it is the simplest way to exchange details and keeping tab of new contacts. Professional networking is all about “you rub my back and I will rub yours.” After all you can’t expect anything from others without giving anything in return. Find out ways to help out people in your network with useful leads. Find a mentor for yourself and people you can mentor. Furthermore, be polite always, whether on the net or in person. Finally, keep your discussions precise and to the point.
It is pointless to talk only to person you already know. Until you explore further and make your professional network diverse, chances are that the whole exercise would become futile. Therefore, do not speak only to one person; the more the better. Never be afraid of asking questions or initiating a new discussion.
“A writer by profession, Saurabh Tyagi is currently focusing her writing on the extensive domain of job search, resume writing, Background check and many more. She has written various articles, news stories and blog posts for the employment sector. The above article is a compilation of latest facts and discusses about social media.”