Career coaching: Why networking is great for your job and your soul

Here are six reasons why you should invest time in networking, starting today

Zeta Yarwood
Zeta Yarwood - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Ask people about whether or not they enjoy networking and chances are most will say no. Even those who consider themselves an extrovert often see networking as more of a chore than something to get excited about. Fears of not knowing what to say, possibly coming across in the wrong way, being judged, not “making a sale” or simply being bored are among some of the reasons why people avoid networking.

However, talk to the most successful people in the world and they will contribute much of their success to having a strong network. And I don’t just mean career or business success. I mean life success. Feeling fulfilled. There are people out there who feel successful without the high-flying CEO role because of the meaningful network of friends, family and support they have cultivated. While many CEOs without a strong network don’t feel successful, often saying “it’s lonely at the top”.

The benefits of networking go beyond career and business success. Research has shown that having a good network is also great for your mind, body and soul. So if you’re not networking or have a fear of networking, start to focus on what you will gain from networking rather than the pain. Do that and you will find networking to be a much more enjoyable experience. Here are 6 reasons why you should invest time in networking – starting today:

Job searching can often be quite a stressful process. Being a CEO or business owner can be isolating. Being a first-time parent can be overwhelming. And moving to a brand new country or city and not knowing anyone can be quite lonely. Networking allows you to meet other people – potentially those who might be in the same boat as you and experiencing the same challenges. Through networking, you can build a support system – a source of help, advice, motivation or inspiration. Life comes with its challenges – you don’t have to go through them alone.

Attending networking events gives you a chance to help others. Life can often be so consuming we often don’t have the time to give back, even though we want to. Networking provides an opportunity to help someone solve a problem or connect them to someone who can. And as we all know, helping people is good for the soul. Research has shown helping people is also good for our health.

On a side note, I’m also a firm believer in karma. What you put out is what you get back. Help others and others will help you in return. And in a world as unpredictable as ours, knowing you have a solid network of people all willing to help one another can help make life that bit more certain.

Human beings are social creatures. We are meant to live in groups and have fun, laugh and bond with other people. Living alone, like an island, is not good for anyone. Feelings of isolation can lead to depression and stress, which in turn can lead to a whole series of chronic illnesses. By going out there and meeting people, you’re not just helping your career, but also your health and emotional well-being. Network and your body will thank you for it!

You’ll be surprised at how many new opportunities will come your way with a bigger network. More invitations to go to social or sporting events. More opportunities to travel and see countries you’ve never visited before. Increased job opportunities. Learning opportunities. Opportunities to meet key people who will add value to your life – either as a friend, a mentor, an inspiration or as someone who can open doors for you. Expand your network – expand your life.

Whether you’re a job seeker or someone looking for quick career progression, building a strong network crucial for maximum career success.

As surprising as it sounds, only 30% of jobs are actually advertised. Employers are relying on referrals and employee networks to hire new employees - to avoid high recruitment and job advertising costs. Unless you go out and meet people, internally or externally, how else will you get recommended or referred for a new job opportunity? Someone might even create a position for you if you impress them enough. With job dissatisfaction being strongly associated with both mental and physical illness, increasing your network is not just great for your career but also your mind and body.

Meeting new people will give you greater insight into industry and market news. You might learn about new companies being built or offices being set-up that could need your expertise. You might gain knowledge into which industries are booming and which ones are slowing down. You might hear about key industry or company problems that you know how to solve – making you a valuable resource. Networking events are a great way to gather information that you could use to take your career to the next level or use to help someone else. And as we’ve already established, both are good for your health and your soul.

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