As we climb up the professional ladder, we are encouraged to develop a network of contacts and engage with that network for professional opportunities. Once we reach the top of that ladder, it becomes easy to neglect that network, all the spare time for networking drinks and lunches seems to disappear. Ultimately though, having a creative, encouraging network can promote longevity in the workplace and I often ask candidates if they have an established network and a mentor.
Engaging with a professional network offers opportunities, camaraderie, business, friendship and reach among many other benefits. It is simple to build and engage with your network on LinkedIn and I like to set aside time each quarter for a networking event within my network. Here are some benefits of a professional network, relevant even for those who have reached the top of their ladder.
Your network travels with you throughout your career
As you develop your career, you create your resume and use it to promote yourself for job opportunities, but this is a document that highlights your past achievements and positions; it doesn’t encompass your current projects and contacts. A professional network includes your past, present and future opportunities and achievements, these people don’t leave you if you leave a job or if the company falls into receivership; your network is always with you.
A professional network is valuable (in dollar amounts)
Each person within your network is a potential client. Someone who may be a freelance journalist now might become the Editor in Chief of a major magazine in 10 years’ time and that magazine could become a future client as a result. Remember, not only is your career developing, everyone in your network is developing theirs too.
Professional networks promote collaboration and positive connections
Utilising LinkedIn to connect with people from various industries ensures you are regularly seeing a variety of articles about ideas and practices outside of your organisation and industry. By widening your network and taking a genuine interest in a different industry and space, you are provided with opportunities to learn which you may not otherwise have. When you frequently connect with your network, you’re sure to be engaging with people freely and happily.
Your network helps you find positions and candidates
Most people neglect their network until they need something and often by this stage, it is too late. It is important to foster healthy relationships within your network while you are safely and happily employed so that if times change, you have a safety net to provide you with options, rather than only reaching out to people in times of need. Additionally, networking sites such as LinkedIn are a great place to find and research candidates. How often have you wanted to recommend someone to a friend’s workplace and find that they aren’t recruiting? Including that person in your network and facilitating introductions could be their perfect career opportunity.
Connect with SULLIVAN Consulting on LinkedIn here.