Networking allows you to interact and communicate with others, as well as exchange information and develop professional, social, and personal ties.
And of course, the more of these ties you have (and the better you nurture them), the higher the chances to develop new ideas, advance your career, gain knowledge, and even build confidence.
But networking benefits don’t end there!
There are more benefits you can take advantage of if you do your networking right, and we’re here to tell you just what those are.
So, read on to learn about the top 13 networking benefits.
11+ Top Networking Benefits
According to networking statistics, 80% of professionals believe networking is essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger, long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more frequently, according to Hubspot.
However, networking doesn’t have to be just professional or limited to networking events. You can network during an art show exhibition with other art enthusiasts, during a college study group session with students, or even at a party with strangers.
In any case, the networking benefits are well worth the process. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what they offer:
#1. Strong Professional Ties
In professional circles, networking often equals sharing (and receiving) information, advice, news, and even guidance.
For example, you may help someone from your networking circle find a good job. Sometime later, they may return the favor by giving you a reference for a job application.
Long story short, regularly engaging with and assisting your contacts not only strengthens your professional ties, but also gives you the “chance” to also ask for a favor in case you ever need one (and, let’s face it—we all do, at some point or another)!
Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you think your skills need some polishing, give our guide on networking skills a read!
#2. Access to Job Opportunities
Accessing more job opportunities is one of the most coveted networking benefits.
And rightfully so. By expanding your professional circle - be it during a corporate meeting, a cross-department project, or even a networking event - you can get valuable inside information about job listings, internal positions, promotions, and the sorts; probably, much more than what you’d get on the internet.
For example, you may be at your company’s Christmas party, but your boss just can’t leave work out of the festivities. During the conversation, he mentions that he will be promoting an employee as a senior accountant and, yes, you guessed it, you meet the application criteria.
Maybe you’d have learned about the promotion through the official announcement, but learning about it in advance surely gives you an edge over the competition.
#3. Career And Profile Advancement
Professional networking will help you get noticed in the right circles and make you more visible. By being seen (and heard) from industry experts, recruiters, or other professionals, you can start building your personal brand and advancing your career.
Make sure to actively listen, remember the names of the people you talk to, and ask relevant questions—especially if you haven’t been networking for long!
At the same time, if you’re a seasoned professional you can further raise your profile by offering your knowledge and expertise. Creating value within the networking circle will gain you more respect and, very possibly, new job opportunities.
#4. Exchanging New Ideas
As we said before, networking doesn’t exclusively belong to the professional world.
Say, for example, you’re in a Statistics 101 study session with 15 people, and you only know 3 of them. Chances are, you won’t spend the entire 5-hours trying to solve a painful statistics problem alone.
By networking with other people from your course, on the other hand, the amount of information you get to solve a problem instantly multiplies by 15.
The end result? You exchange ideas, you meet people, you make new friends, and you may even come to dislike Statistics a little less by the end of the session.
And don’t forget—some of those friendships can turn into professional relations, especially if you think they can be beneficial for your career.
#5. Gained Knowledge
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
The wider and more diverse your network of contacts, the more access you get to new and potentially valuable information.
When we say valuable information, we don’t just mean business techniques or the latest industry developments. No matter where you’re networking (be it at a party, or a high-school reunion), you can gather new and potentially beneficial information.
For example, you might meet another professional marketer, and they’ll teach you a marketing technique they’ve used in the past that you’ve never heard of.
Or, a fellow accounting student teaches you how to use a new Excel formula to help you save time for your upcoming homework.
#6. Higher Confidence
If you happen to network more often (meaning, not just at work, or during networking events) you’ll notice that, over time, the social and professional ties you make with people will build your confidence.
For the most part, this comes as a result of meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone (something not everyone is prepared to do).
So, when the time comes to go to your college or job interview (for example), the self-confidence you’ve acquired from networking with people (often strangers) will make it easier to interact with the recruiters and make a lasting impression.
#7. Improved Creative Intellect
Do you remember how, as a kid, you weren’t always able to solve a problem alone, or complete a puzzle by itself?
But when other kids joined you and many “heads” came together, creativity went up the roof, and “the problem” became a piece of cake.
The same thing happens as a result of a strong networking circle. Knowing and exchanging ideas with other people from your professional and social circles (with whom you might not even be like-minded), will improve your creative intellect.
Just by discussing daily issues with people from your network you’ll gain new perspectives and solutions that you can always implement in future situations.
#8. An Answer to Most Questions
This one’s as straightforward as they get.
The more people you know, the easier it will be to find someone with an answer to your questions.
This includes your networking circle at college, where you may turn for help with an exam question. Or, it can include your professional networking circle, which may be able to help you tackle a challenging task at work.
Even on the off chance that you can’t get an answer, you’ll at least have various sources to consult.
#10. Career Advice and Support
Being able to seek the advice of other or more experienced peers regarding your career is a huge networking benefit.
Imagine you’re at a crossroads regarding a career change. Part of you wants to stay in the company where you have invested so much of your time and effort and another wants to start something entirely new.
Asking a trusted and experienced peer from your networking circle is bound to at least give you a new perspective on the matter.
The thing is, everyone needs support and advice at one point or another. When it comes down to it, it’s better to get it from members of your professional network, than from just about anyone.
#11. Long-Lasting Relationships
Chances are, the people you’re going to “click” with when you’re networking are people that you like. And yes, the same will probably happen if you’re strictly networking to get a job—unless you’d prefer to work for a company you don’t like.
The point is, over time you will in part build a circle of trusted individuals with similar goals and life directions as yours and those people have the potential of turning into long-lasting relationships.
#12. Potential Business Collaborators/Investors
Imagine having a business idea that’s just waiting to make you money, or a recently opened, promising start-up with 4-5 employees.
All you need, in both cases, is a kickstart—someone, for example, to believe in your idea so much as to invest in it, or someone to join you as a collaborator for the long run.
Those are just two out of many possibilities; the point is, networking is one of the most effective ways to find investors or project and business collaborators.
5 Networking Tips (to Make The Most Out of Networking Benefits)
By now, we have walked you through the top networking benefits in detail.
However, to yield those benefits, you need to practice and perfect your networking skills daily, in many sets and settings. Networking, like communication and interpersonal skills, can be mastered over time—especially if you follow the right steps.
Here are some tips that will help you sow the networking benefits we covered in this article:
- Dress with intention. When you go to a networking event, a party, or even a get-together with colleagues, consider how you want to be perceived (e.g. warm and friendly, or fair but direct) and what your networking goals are (e.g. making friends, or finding a new job), and dress accordingly.
- Visualize the outcome of your networking. Do you want to make professional connections? Do you want to meet a particular person who just happens to offer the job of your dreams? Or do you just want to meet new people? No matter the case, thinking about what you want will make it easier to achieve it.
- Smile. This one doesn’t need a lot of explaining. Smiling is a universal sign of openness, empathy, and communication and, as such, THE ice-breaker when it comes to networking.
- Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions (e.g. “how?” “why?” and “what”) enable the speaker to share their thoughts and engage in the conversation, instead of answering with a dry “yes/no.”
- Follow up. Networking is about creating and solidifying connections. For the latter to happen, make sure to follow up through email, text, or a phone call, to the people who made an impression on you (or to those you believe are valuable future contacts).
These tips scratch the surface of how networking THE RIGHT WAY can give you the above-mentioned benefits. For more details, head over to our guide on 9 top networking tips!
And that’s a wrap! Now that you know all the benefits that networking comes with inside out, chances are you’ll be more willing to do it from now on.
In any case, let’s go over the main points we covered in this article:
- According to statistics, 80% of professionals believe networking is essential to their career success, but networking doesn’t have to be just professional or limited to networking events.
- Other places to network are work events, parties, bars, or even theater receptions!
- Some of the most noteworthy networking benefits include stronger professional ties, access to job opportunities, gained knowledge, and polished communication and social skills.
- Some tips to improve your networking skills include visualizing the outcome of your networking, asking open-ended questions, and following up after the event takes place.