Two professional shaking hands.

If you’re looking for job search advice, you’re very likely to come across the word ‘networking’ at some point. We all know what it is and the purpose it serves. However, the value of growing and establishing a network can be hard to quantify. For someone who hasn’t networked, it can be challenging to to realize the worth of it. So today’s blog will list out the many advantages of having a network, and why it’s a great resource for any professional.

Building a Diverse Network

At the beginning, a network starts from your most inner circles. Family and friends are the first people you likely would consider a part of that group. As time goes on, it may grow as you add coworkers, alumni, and other acquaintances. A developed network goes beyond just the people within your immediate circle to include a diverse group of professionals and personalities. The further you build your network, the more diverse it gets. This means you are now connected to people with different skills, in different industries, with different passions, goals, and purpose. If you keep in touch with your network, that’s where the value starts.

Staying in touch with your network is what helps you tap into the value of it. Since a developed network is so diverse, talking with people within it provides immense value. Had you only kept in touch with your family, friends, and coworkers, you may have experienced an echo chamber effect. Those in your immediate circles likely hear of the same opportunities, and have similar career philosophies. By reaching out to your extended connections you break that barrier and gain truly unique insight. It may help you re-evaluate the job market, or your career priorities. Since your connections are far enough removed, they can provide you with advice that is unbiased from knowing you personally. This helps you get a wide range of input before making major career changes. Another pus from having a strong professional network is all of the opportunities it provides.

The #1 Benefit

Those opportunities may come in the form projects, ideas, or even job openings. They may want your assistance on a project that pays well, or they may have thought of you for an open position at their company. Job search opportunities from your network are specifically valuable. When it comes to job openings, hiring managers usually turn to those they trust already before looking externally. This is why many companies look internally first. It’s also why references are so powerful when it comes to a job search. If you are able to go to a job interview knowing you already have an advocate within the company, you’re a big step ahead of the competition. Many companies also have passive openings, which means they’re looking to hire, but may not be advertising for it. Having a connection in your network will allow you to tap into those types of opportunities. The same could be said for recruiters, although the connection may not be as personal.

While we’ve discussed quite a few ways in which a network can be beneficial, we’ve only scratched the surface. In addition to help with your job search and career, expanding your connections may lead to new friendships as well. While it may be hard to see the benefits when you’re initially starting to grow your network, it will pay off in spades over time. If you’re wondering how you can check in with your network to tap into all of those opportunities and benefits, look out for a new blog in 2 weeks!