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5 Hidden Benefits of Having a Strong Professional Network

Topics: Career Advice

Networking can feel like a real drag sometimes. Even if you’ve found ways to network without the yuck, it still takes a lot of hard work to build a strong professional network. It can be time-consuming, too, even though it’s worth the investment.

We all know that having, and maintaining, a robust professional network can help you find new job opportunities. But, there are also many other benefits that are a little less obvious. Understanding the hidden benefits of having a strong professional network could help you stay motivated to put time into developing yours.

1. Confidence.

Networking can help you build all kinds of interpersonal skills. Talking to new people helps hone communication skills — something today’s recruiters crave. Networking also builds confidence. Attending networking events can be intimidating at first, but experience changes that. The more you network successfully, the easier it becomes.

2. Fun.

There are many good reasons to have friends at work. One of the best is that research has found that it will make you happier. These days, more and more people are telecommuting. This is a great thing, but one of the downsides is lack of interaction with others. Maintaining a strong professional network challenges the potentially isolating reality of telecommuting. Ultimately, networking can help us feel more connected to others and maybe even a little happier at work.

3. Guidance.

The individuals in your network could provide you with valuable advice. In fact, one of the best perks of having a strong professional network is building your own personal board of directors. These folks can offer tremendous guidance.

The wisdom they offer could be either general or specific. People from your industry can offer you insight about issues that apply to your profession. And people from outside your field can help you to navigate other areas where they might have expertise. For example, someone could hook you up with a new technology that makes your job easier.

General career advice, about things like time management or advancing your career, is always good, too. You’ll have more access to all kinds of valuable professional wisdom as a result of having a network of professionals surrounding you.

4. You might hire someone.

Careers sometimes take surprising and even sudden turns. Maybe you don’t think you’ll be in the business of hiring employees any time soon. But, you don’t know that for sure. Tomorrow, you could be promoted to a leadership position at your company, or start laying the groundwork for your own entrepreneurial venture.

Having a strong professional network helps you stay connected to all kinds of different people. Each brings a unique set of skills and areas of expertise to the table. You never know how or when these kinds of connections might come in handy.

5. Personal opportunities.

Career opportunities aside, having a strong professional network could be a good thing for you personally. After all, life is about more than just work.

On a practical level, folks from your network could help you connect with your community more effectively. They could help you hone in on a great childcare option for your kids, for example. Also, you never know how a professional connection might impact your world or your life. People and opportunities sometimes come into our lives in surprising ways. When you cast a wide net, you open yourself up to all kinds of potential opportunities.

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