You’ve heard it before: it’s all about who you know. But what does that mean?
Networking is a learned skill. To build a network is to form the connections you may need in the future to support your career. This process takes time.
But how do you know where to get started? Is it worth it? We asked ten experts to share their insights about why connections are important and why you should create a network of your own.
“Who You Know” versus “Who Knows You”
It’s not, “who you know,” it’s, “who knows you.” Making connections leads to conversations and conversations lead to opportunities. Beyond making connections, it’s vital to spend time nurturing connections as they can come in handy in unexpected ways down the road.
Chris Dunkin, Portable Air
It Allows Recruiters to Vouch for You
You need to develop connections to the point where recruiters may vouch for you. Recruiters do not usually approach you just because they know you, they vouch for you because they know you are worth vouching for. Similarly, connections are a method to advertise your skills, not a replacement for having skills. Personally, I think that connections are not a metric of skill, they are a metric of experience and trust.
Rameez Ghayas Usmani, PureVPN
It Gives You an Opportunity to Help Others
Connections are the most important way to advance in your career. My connections helped to open doors to three critical, life changing career opportunities. Since then, I have looked for opportunities to help others by volunteering with my alumni association and answering questions for people interested in new opportunities.
Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant
They Bridge the Gap Between You and Employment
Connections are the bridge between an employee and a career. When all else fails, your connections will be there to support you and to help you bridge the gap between you and employment. Not every position or promotion is going to be posted on a job board somewhere, but just one email reaching out to a connection could make the difference in getting a job interview you didn’t even know about.
Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Approach Connections With No Agenda
Life is about connections above and beyond your career. You never know what role someone may play, how you may be able to make a profound difference for them, or how they may be able to help you. When we approach new connection opportunities with no agenda other than learning about the person behind the business, we open up communication to a deeper level. My entire corporate and entrepreneurial careers have been based on my solid connections.
Leeanne Gardner, Unbridle It
Work is an important part of people’s lives; therefore, creating relationships at work is necessary to be successful. Find people that you can share insights with about more than just work, which in turn will give employees the sense of belonging and make them feel part of the team. This will give them motivation to take on more responsibility if they feel like what they are doing will impact people they are close to.
JJ Hepp, Arrow Lift
The B Mohr Effect
One single connection has helped me launch two businesses. I originally introduced myself to Brian Mohr via a cold email. He answered, and after an initial meeting, he connected me with someone who helped me launch my first business. Years later, Brian again helped me launch another business by becoming my first client while introducing me to my second client. Somewhere, there’s a Brian Mohr out there who can make all the difference to you and your career.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel
Whether it’s been in relation to my full-time career or my business, the biggest and most worthwhile opportunities have come from first-hand connections. Connections give us an opportunity to help others. And by helping others, we’re advocating for our brands.
Maya Angela said “people will never forget how you made them feel”. It may take several years before someone remembers something nice that you did for them, but that could manifest into an opportunity that could transform your career or business. Don’t expect anything in return in the future. I have made many connections that have not manifested into anything. Not yet at least.
Husam Machlovi, With Pulp
Co-Made, Not Self-Made
Connections are the key to success. Joseph Campbell shared the concept of “the hero’s journey.” Along my entrepreneurial journey, there have been so many connections that were important to be where I am today. The idea of self-made is a fallacy; co-made is what they really mean. A friend shared with me that concept and shared anyone who has ever “made it” could only have done so with help along the way. “Co-made” with connections along the way has made my career, and will continue.
Mark Jamnik, Enjoy Life Daily
They Are Vital in Sharing Industry Expertise
Making connections in the professional world is essential for a plethora of reasons–one in particular is expertise. There are always going to be people who know more than you, and you should take that as a good thing. Meeting and discussing your specific industry with other experts is only going to benefit you, whether they are helping you through a rough time, giving you career advice or even financially supporting your professional endeavors. Connections are vital to the progress of a professional career.
Megan Chiamos, 365 Cannabis