Networking 101: The Basics
What Is Networking
Networking is “the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people” (Ward, 2019). This is done by organizations and individuals, specifically business students. So why is there a heavy emphasis on going to networking events and building your own network on LinkedIn?
Negative Connotations of Networking
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Networking seems to have a negative connotation, with many students perceiving it as “pointless” or “using” a professional to gain a recommendation or for other purposes. These negative connotations may stem from friends or family, or negative experiences at events. Some individuals may perceive networking as a useless event to go to or that connections don’t matter, but going to one was actually very informative and beneficial.
The Benefits + Importance of Networking
Retrieved from https://www.10xfactory.com/business-networking
As business students, we hear the phrase, “it’s not about what you know it’s about who you know,” and to a certain extent, it holds up. By creating meaningful connections, we get to meet new individuals and discover opportunities that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
After making connections with industry professionals, you’ll be able to see the opportunities at their organizations, which you would not have known about without those connections. Whether it be career, extra-curricular, or event opportunities, it is very beneficial to have a vast network who will provide a variety of opportunities.
3. Expanding your network:
By expanding your network, new individuals and organizations will be able to view your current profile. That is, people who you have yet to meet and connect with, are able to view your profile through mutual connections.
Industry professionals and students post anecdotes about previous experiences and share advice as well. Whether it be advice about school or starting up a business, it may help you learn valuable lessons from their expertise.
Going to an actual networking event boosts students’ confidence. A networking event may be daunting to go to, as there are many students who all want to create meaningful connections. However, it allows students to step out of their comfort zones and interact with several professionals.
How to Create/Maintain Meaningful Connections
Expanding your network is important, but how do we create meaningful connections? Networking is not about gaining the “500+ connections” title on LinkedIn; it is creating meaningful connections - connections that are valuable to both individuals. Connecting with an industry professional may be easy, but maintaining those connections are difficult. A common and easy way to maintain a connection is by interacting with an individual after connecting. Some methods to do this include:
Meeting the individual for coffee with questions or for advice
Emailing/commenting on a connections profile for job updates, posts, etc.
Sharing articles or posts that intrigue you
Joining LinkedIn groups
Now that you know the benefits of networking, go to a networking event and create/maintain meaningful connections on LinkedIn yourself!