Photos: Benjamin Child via Unsplash; Ivan Slade via Unsplash; Andreas Rønningen via Unsplash; Mariya Georgieva via Unsplash.
Networking is a necessary evil. Believe me.
We all have social media and we’re all on some kind of social network (unless you’re my parents who have none of the above), and we should all aim to establish a professional network of some kind – both online and offline.
I write this because it’s true. My friends joke that I’m too much into networking but it is only recently that I’ve gotten over myself and decided to be proactive. As someone who is finally setting the stage to my career, I’m finally learning to network better, and I guess I’m on a roll.
There are many reasons why networking is a necessity.
1. We are not islands
Networking is the best way to find allies, meet a mentor, land a new job. You need support in life, and networking can just help you with that.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting amazing people and learn about their stories at networking events, or through social networks like Linkedin. I’ve got to go to follow up meetings/conversations and they’ve all helped me figure out what my next steps were. They’ve definitely have helped me find a job and cement my plan after university, and they’ve helped me with SPECTRA, the online media platform I’ve started. I wouldn’t be where I am had I not networked. So do network.
2. Fear? Inconsequential.
Many think that networking is a waste of time because they are firm believers that they’d never get anything out of it. “What if the person I talk to hates me?” “What if they ignore me?” “What if it doesn’t work out?”
My answer to all those questions is: so what?
You genuinely don’t want to spend your time thinking about what if you had approached that person, or what if you hadn’t been too scared you would have achieved something you want. Life is about taking risks. The worse that can happen is that the person in question will say no. But you won’t know until you try.
Don’t let fear stand in the way. That networking event you’re hesitant about attending may change your life. You might discover that there is a job out there that you might want to try out. You might come up with an idea just by talking to people. Who knows.
I can’t stress enough how useful networking is to get over some stage fright. Sometimes it feels like you’ve been thrown into the lion’s den but you quickly learn to fake it until you make it. And there is nothing better than having to explain in a few sentences who you are and what you’re doing with your life to boost your confidence once it’s all over. The more attempts you make at networking and the easier it becomes. Soon enough you’ll become a pro who is a master at answering the question “what are you up to?”. Who knows maybe in a few shorts months you’ll write about why you realised that the adults had it right: networking definitely helps.
Here’s why I think networking is good for you. Have I missed anything you might want to add? It would be great to hear about your experiences of networking.
Here are a few articles written on the subject if you remain unconvinced: