Networking in its most basic form is talking to people and exchanging ideas. In a professional sense it involves meeting with specific professionals or experts for the purposes of sharing information, gaining exposure, building and maintaining future relations.
Even if you haven’t ever considered yourself part of a formal network we all have them but don’t realise! At the very least this will include family, peers and lecturers – can you think of any others that already exist within your network?
In turn, the members of your network will also have their own network. Confusing!?! When networks cross like this new relationships can be formed. Think about this like a marriage where two families join together.
“Two networks for the price of one”
Having your own network automatically gives you access to the network of others – meaning having access to people or groups to talk to and exchange ideas.
“No man is an island”
It gives you the chance to expand your knowledge and develop new ideas and in the long term equip you with a sustained presence and community.
The networks that we interact with can heavily influence our relationship with career and future employment options; how you decide on a career path; and, the approach to develop your career prospects. Varying who is in your network will provide a broader source of information and influence in both directions.
“Skills in action”
By actively engaging in networking you will be able to demonstrate and enhance a number of employability skills, such as: confidence; communicating; negotiating; using initiative; making decisions and demonstrating your commitment to professional development outside of your studies.
Ability to connect you with others Share some of your values
Promote your work or skills Willing to provide insights
Influencers within other networks Act as a critical friend