New Year: The Benefits of Networking
The first quarter is a time for setting intentions, and networking should be on your list! Networking provides wonderful benefits—both personally and professionally—and there’s no time like the new year to get out of your rut and meet some new people.
The first thing many people think of when they hear “networking” is job-seeking. (Or maybe you think of awkward small talk first . . . and then job-seeking.) But it’s true that the benefits of networking can directly impact your career path. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job change or anticipating one any time soon, most of us won’t stay on one trajectory for our whole careers. Making those connections now can make all the difference down the road.
Meeting people both inside your industry and in other spheres of influence can open up unexpected doors of opportunity and pave the way for big breaks later on. It also gives you a chance to hone your pitch and practice talking about your expertise and goals outside of an email—which should be reason enough for most of us.
The benefits of networking aren’t just about the corporate ladder or your résumé. Creating connections can also drive your pursuit of social good projects, favorite hobbies, or new skills. Meeting new people with shared interests can create a bond. Finding someone with a skill you admire can inspire you to develop it yourself. Whether you’re an avid skier or have always wanted to learn Japanese, it can be easier—or just more fun—if you know someone else who’s into it too.
It can also help you increase your impact. Organizing a food drive or promoting a fundraiser is more successful and more enjoyable when you have a bigger circle to reach out to. And, in turn, you get to see more opportunities from others to do good in the world.