What is networking?
Networking can be formal or informal, and might include your current and former colleagues, people you went to school or university with and contacts you've made at work functions or conferences.
The advantages of networking:
It's a great way to get a deeper understanding of the happenings within different departments and within the industry as a whole. Interacting with people from different professions, nationalities, and cultures gives you a broader scope of life. Making contacts through networking not only can benefit the organisation but could benefit you too, short term and long term. Such as:
Career advice. If you have contacts in different sectors, their advice could be valuable if you're facing a difficult task, problem or decision with your career.
Information. Need help with a specific project or task? Ask your contacts to put you in touch with someone who specialises in the subject.
Business to Business relations. Knowing someone in another organisation can make your working relationship much smoother, when working together.
Career Move. When you’re on the lookout for a new vacancy, let your network know, just in case they know of anything. Also, if your connections can put a face to the name on the CV, you have a strong application already.
Most industries hold regular networking events. It's a good idea to research some events near you. This can also be a great chance to help businesses create opportunities and partnerships. As well as expanding your own contact list by following them up by email or on social media after the event.
If you really are uncomfortable with a large group of people, don’t worry. You can meet up in smaller groups once a month for drinks or even stay in touch with contacts through emails. That’s still networking. It’s important to keep up communications to build a strong community of contacts. Always be prepared to offer support to your contacts when they reach out in need.