Networking isn’t just useful when you’re looking for a job with a new company – it’s useful when moving up the career ladder in your own company too. It can also be used to expand your industry knowledge and become influential in your field.
What is networking really?
Career networking is simply making connections with people who can help you progress in your career.
“Your career network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or career move. It can include past and present co-workers, bosses, friends with similar interests, colleagues from business associations, alumni from your university, or acquaintances you have met via online networking services. Your network can also include family, neighbors, and anyone who might have a connection that will help,” say Balance Careers.
Why is networking important?
Let’s look at the statistics:
- Some estimate that as much as 80 percent of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking, yet most people spend most of their job searching time browsing job listings
- 35 percent of professionals say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity
- 61 percent of professionals agree that regular online interaction with their professional network can lead to the way into possible job opportunities
Traditionally networking is done face-to-face, but since networking has moved online, and professional networking sites like LinkedIn have become a vital tool in any career climber’s arsenal, a plethora of other apps have come into being that are really worth exploring.
Here are our favourites:
This is actually from the team who create Tinder, but instead of helping people find romantic relationships, it’s all about the business relationships. You can create an online CV and select your industry and skills, and the app suggests potential industry connections. Like with Tinder, you swipe to request a connection. The Face Connect feature uses facial recognition to help connect people you’ve met in real life to their profile using a photo of them, or you can use the Nearby feature to find the profiles of people around you.
Another app from a team who started off with a dating app, Bumblebizz is a ‘mode’ of the Bumble app which lets you network and find mentors. You can create a digital CV with your experience, skills, education and the kind of opportunities you’re looking for, plus examples of your work if you’d like. The Bumblebizz mode also shares the original app’s ‘female first’ approach – women must make the first move when it comes to requesting connections and making contacts, which aims to encourage positive behavior and empower female users. The app also focusses on finding connections in your area, so you can create a more local business network.
The networking experience on Meetup.com doesn’t necessarily happen online – but it’s a brilliant app for finding groups of people who share your interests. You can find groups across a huge amount of industries and professionals, and if you can’t find one for you, you can start your own.
It’s a great space for brand building too – if you become a regular face at industry meetups, start your own group and volunteer to talk at events, you can become an authority figure in your industry and thus increase the potential of your networking abilities.