Networking for Beginners: How to Get Started
To know how to network, you first have to understand exactly what networking is. Think of it like an ancestry tree, but instead of family, it consists of professional contacts. Knowing one person can connect you to another person. The bigger your tree and the more branches you grow, the more possibilities you have to achieve your career aspirations.
Why It’s Important
No matter how amazing you are, you can’t conquer Mount Everest without a Sherpa. Everyone needs a team behind them or a support system to help them reach the next and highest level. There are many benefits to networking that make it one of the most important things you’ll ever do while walking your professional path.
Discover New Opportunities
You might hear about a job before it’s posted and be able to throw your hat in the ring at the very beginning.
Create Innovative Ideas
Brainstorming with someone who’s just as talented as you are can lead to an even bigger and better idea than you might’ve come up with on your own.
Build Your Self-Confidence
When you surround yourself with successful people, it can help you feel more confident with who you are and what you have to offer. After all, high-performance individuals aren’t going to spend their time with you if you have nothing to offer.
Get to the Next Level
When you’re up for a big promotion or applying for your dream job, knowing someone who’s well established and willing to put in a good word for you can mean the difference between landing that next big gig or failing to move forward.
Never Stop Learning
A valuable network allows you to continually grow and evolve. You might learn new skills or gain more insight by surrounding yourself with people who challenge you and are willing to offer you guidance.
Where to Start
Nowadays, there are so many excellent avenues available to people who are new to networking. You may already be familiar with some of them!
This can be a great resource to help you expand your branches. What’s particularly important about LinkedIn is how you can grow your network through connections you have in common with people you otherwise wouldn’t likely cross paths with.
Put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to slide into the DMs of someone you respect and admire. The worst that can happen is that you don’t hear back. The best that can happen is you do. There’s really no losing.
There are thousands of different groups on Meetup, and everyone’s invited. Join a group with like-minded professionals. This can help you start building friendships first, and your network will be even stronger. You might even be able to find a mentor who can help raise you to get to the next level.
Whether you are in advertising, finance, music, or any industry in between, networking can be extremely beneficial for your professional growth. Sure—the idea of networking might seem intimidating at first, but before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful tree with a plethora of branches. All it takes is a willingness to extend your hand. You never know who might be willing to reach back.