Question: This may be a dumb question, what is networking and why should I care?
Answer: Not a dumb question at all – it is important that we agree on the definition of networking first. According to Dictionary.com, network, when used as a verb without object, means “to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.” Some call it informational interview. Personally, I like to define it as “result-oriented professional relationship-building” because it paints a picture of networking by negation:
Result-oriented means that casual chatting with no purpose is NOT networking;
It has to be within the professional context, therefore asking a girl/guy out on a date is NOT networking;
Relationship-building implies that it is NOT a one-off transaction but rather long-term in nature.
Now that we have a basic idea of what networking is. Let us talk about why anyone, job seekers, in particular, should regularly network. Below is a list of networking benefits:
Get career advice and insights from experienced professionals from industries you are interested in
Acquire knowledge of specific sectors, companies, teams and positions
Expand your professional network
Improve your communication and interview skills
Get introduced to other professionals and opportunities