What does the term ‘networking’ mean?
Networking refers to the interaction with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts – usually for a common goal. Common synonyms for networking are : association, circulations, and connection.
There are over 250 million active daily users on Linkedin.And, that is only half of the number of actual users on Linkedin. And, only approximately 36 million of those users are students/ graduates. A small percentage in the great scheme of things. As a student/ professional, are you able to say that you are an active user? Whatever your answer is, it is important to remind ourselves of why it is essential that we, as students/ professionals, are constantly networking – and using a platform such as Linkedin to assist us in doing so.
Social media, in general, is a powerful tool. But, The way we use social media greatly influences whether we are able to reap the benefits of using these platforms. Linkedin is said to be a business and employment oriented social networking service, however, if we do not actively engage on the platform, that is, liking, commenting, on and sharing posts, can we confidently say that we are using the service to its greatest capabilities?
I believe that students who have recently joined the platform have done well to do so – but this is only the first step. The next step is to connect with many individuals within our field and if we are not able to connect with them, we can still follow them and interact with their posts that will be available on our feeds. So far I personally, have spoken to many professionals with considerably high followings. And I would not have been able to communicate with them anywhere else that I am aware of. They have given me timely and insightful advice about my career path.What does this tell us? Something must be working here.
It occurred to me that when I allowed myself to be available to opportunities , more opportunities came my way. As simple as it sounds , we are often too distracted or unmotivated to put ourselves forward for opportunities . For example , going to networking evenings. However, when we have the mindset that ” I will be available and I will make sure I make use of networking events.” We will begin to see a fruitful change. We will begin to meet interesting and motivational people. And we will see our career paths far more clearly.
In such a competitive world , it is essential that we continue to broaden our horizons and take into perspective other professionals. Though we are in the field of Business and Law , we will definitely come across individuals working in other fields that will eventually cross our paths directly . By seeing our careers in a much wider scope we become more adaptive.
Therefore, I would recommend that anyone who has begun their networking journey to keep an open-mind and reach out to other types of professionals in fields such as computer science or economics , as these subjects in some way or another will impact the way we work in the years to come and I am sure there are many other fields that come to mind for this reason. Networking can allow us to constantly see our career paths with fresh eyes.
To summarise, here are some key reasons to why networking students are highly likely to succeed. I hope the list will both add to what has been said and provide an opportunity of reflection also:
1.Engagement: Students who network find it considerably more easy to create engaging conversations and can confidently hold one-to-conversations. They are also more likely to enthuse and incite feelings of motivation in people they network with.
2.Opportunities: By networking , students are much more likely to be put forward for opportunities and also roles with incentives as they have made themselves available and demonstrate a high level of commitment to their chosen path.
3.Perspective: Through networking with a variety of professionals – these type of students see what their place will be in their future careers and through interactions are able to articulate their work more broadly for example , the relevancy of their field of work in the next couple of years and how things may change.
4.Adaptive: Students who network are unlikely to be thrown off by sudden change in fact they are likely to embrace and accept change as an opportunity for a new learning experience. They are the kind that are in constant search for challenging tasks to improve their skills.
5. Growth Mindset: The purpose of networking is not only to grow your reach in your field of work but also grow as an individual. This type of student is dedicated to taking the necessary steps to increase their growth.
6.Focus: Students may not always have a crystal clear path set out. However , by networking they are able to stay on track and remind themselves of why they are working hard towards their career path and concentrate on their purpose.
7.Sociable : Networking allows us to practice our ‘people-skills’ and interact on a professional level. The only way we can improve in this is by practice and taking note of how other professionals speak to each other. The comment section of a Linkedin Blog may give you a brief idea of what this may look like.
8.Awareness: By networking, these students grow confident and gain far more knowledge by engaging in conversations and asking questions also.
Picture by ITU Pictures © ITU / J.M Planche