Networking is an important part of your career. According to Herminia Ibarra in 5 Misconceptions About Networking from the Harvard Business Review, having a good network will keep you informed, teach you new things, make you more innovative, and give you a sounding board to flesh out your ideas. If networking is so important to our careers, why do so many of us resist it? Ibarra highlights five common misconceptions of networking:
1) Networking is a not a good use of my time — Networking takes time and strategic planning. The positive effects of networking may not be seen right away, but it will pay off in the long run. Reach out to those professionals who may have an impact on your future career in addition to your current position.
2) Networking is not in my nature — Networking is a learned skill and not just for those people who are naturally outgoing or extroverted. Effective networking comes through planning, practice and hard work.
3) Networking should be natural not forced — Networking requires deliberate planning. You may have some professional relationships that develop naturally or on their own, but a good professional network will require strategic thought.
4) Networking is selfish and pushy — Networking is a valuable part of professional development. If done right, networking should not be seen as selfish, but instead be more of a two-way street where you contribute to your network as well as benefit from it.
5) Networking is only for those in my close circles — Networking should take place outside your comfort zone and inner circle of colleagues. Connecting with those outside your close network will bring new perspectives and ideas and also allow you connect with people they know to expand and diversify your network.
Networking is vital to a successful career. Do not let any of these common misconceptions of networking hold you back from the benefits of a professional network. For more information on networking contact your AthLife advisor for assistance with network development.