Why it pays to network

Network with close work colleaguesWhether you are looking to become more visible in your field, seeking out new job opportunities or considering a career change, networking is an investment that will pay off in the future. Here are several reasons why it enhances your personal and professional development.

Opens doors to potential new job opportunities

Networking events allow you to meet, chat to and build relationships with career influencers and decision makers, as well as people within your industry outside the confines of the workplace. Various studies estimate that between 45% and 85% of job roles are filled because the employer knew the person that they wanted to hire, or because the candidate heard about the position through a personal contact, so it is important not to underestimate the value of actively extending your network when looking for work.

Raises your profile

Similarly, you never know what may come of getting your face known within your industry. Research conducted by sociologist Mark Granovetter’s shows that ‘loose ties’ or acquaintances, rather than your immediate network, are more likely to help you in you career. Networking provides a brilliant opportunity to build a good reputation – having a pithy ‘elevator pitch’ up your sleeve can help ensure you leave a lasting positive impression from the outset.

Builds your confidence

Although talking to strangers can seem an understandably daunting prospect, networking events are a great chance to boost your social confidence in a relaxed environment. Mingling with new people expands your social life and helps to refine your communication skills.

Broadens your insight

New faces, fresh perspectives. Interacting with people other than your colleagues and outside of your usual social circle is likely to expand your knowledge in some way, whether it means learning about a new product, industry or trend from someone you meet.

Builds a great network of lifelong contacts

Although nowadays people can often rely heavily on social media to expand their network of contacts, the best connections are made in person. At networking events you can discover shared interests with people organically, before inviting them to connect on LinkedIn en route home.