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By J.Swindell

Why networking is necessary for career advancement

The power of communication can play an essential role in career growth or exposure to new opportunities. Many think networking sessions are a simple meet-and-greet, but there's more to the art of getting ahead, whether one wants to advance or try a new career. If a person can have a friendly conversation that's effective, they will see the importance of networking.

Discovering hidden talents

Getting the most out of networking means having something worthy to share, even if it's just to observe what others have to say. A good listener can carry conversation just as well as someone with a laundry list of accomplishments to share. However, if getting established in a new career or moving ahead is the primary objective, then get ready to show off.

Rather than just using the usual adjectives that describe work habits or generic statements about your employer, try to think of instances where challenges turned into victories. Just be conscientious about using names or confidential information, and try using a humble delivery. A neutral topic like a new product or idea that's relevant to the industry is also a good conversation-starter.

Finding the right places to network

Sometimes meeting people can be a challenge for the person dealing with a specialized market, like antique electronics. Unless a person lives in a large city, meeting an ample amount of like-minded businesspersons is not likely. Instead of feeling the need to travel, online meeting groups and social networking sites are excellent places to get acquainted with others.

Though it never hurts to peruse forums and relevant sites, creating an interesting profile makes it easier for people to get to know you. Some sites, like LinkedIn, encourage using a color photo and make it easy to add details about one's professional background. It also helps to use industry keywords and keep sentences short, if possible.

Whether online or in person, always remember that good communication is a two-way street. Getting involved in a good dialogue can be a learning experience. The same applies for sharing related links to articles and other content attendees may find useful.

Networking can be more effective than the classifieds

Back when print newspapers were the prime source for finding work or business opportunities, people always said that it's who you know and not what you know. This is somewhat true today, since the internet is no replacement for genuine relationships. However, creating an online presence that's knowledgeable and friendly can go a long way.

Another advantage to online networking is that information may be updated throughout the day. There are also apps that allow people to enter chat rooms during a designated time. Instead of waiting for the Sunday paper or for an office to open, a person can find gold in the early morning or late evening. Good timing can make a tremendous difference in one's bank account.

Making it all come together

No matter where a person is in their career, they can use networking to their advantage. Once they asses their strengths and apply that to their objective, they can use this for online and offline opportunities that may come along. Besides making strong contacts, the willingness to learn is just as important as the soft selling of self.

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