There’s a misconception that networking is strictly for job hunting, but the most successful people do it on a daily basis, all year long. Your network is your professional currency, and trust me, you want to be rich. And it’s not Instagram followers you need, but meaningful connections in real life.
Kathryn Rose, CEO and founder of wiseHer, a company that provides on-demand expert advice for women business owners and entrepreneurs, credits her success to her network.
“My No. 1 rule is to give, give, get. I believe wholeheartedly that when networking, you need to have a genuine desire to help others first,” says Rose, who has more than 10,000 connections on LinkedIn.
Susan McPherson from McPherson Strategies, a communications consultancy, agrees. “Walking into an event, I ask myself, how can I best provide support for those in the room?” she says. “I will always walk up to the person standing alone and say hello, even if it can feel uncomfortable or intimidating to me.”
LinkedIn ran an online survey last year among more than 2,150 working professionals, ages 18 to 74. They found that more than 70 percent of professionals get hired at a company where they have a professional connection, and nearly half of the professionals said their network has helped them discover new career opportunities.
“No matter what you’re in it for — a new job, a promotion at your current company, acquiring a new skill, changing industries or building a new client base — your professional community is your rocket fuel to get you there,” says LinkedIn’s career expert, Blair Decembrele.
But not all of the numbers are positive.