Why Is Networking for Business Important? (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Networking in business is an excellent practice to help you achieve career success. It involves connecting with a wide variety of professionals in your industry to learn about job opportunities and grow your career. If you're a business professional, learning what networking for business is may help you earn career advancement and further develop your skills. In this article, we discuss what networking for business is and provide a list of tips to help you build important connections.

Related: Why Is Networking Important and How to Start Networking

What is networking for business?

Networking is the practice of establishing and maintaining relationships with a variety of contacts to help you advance your career. It may involve establishing connections to help you learn more about business opportunities or open positions, or it may expand your clientele by informing potential clients of your services. For example, a doctor may refer a patient to a physical therapist within their network, since they may be familiar with that physical therapist's background, therapy techniques and success rate.

While it often involves colleagues or professionals in your industry, your network also includes all the people you interact with who might offer you valuable professional assistance or guidance. Here is a list of individuals who may be a part of your network:

  • friends

  • colleagues

  • professionals in your industry

  • staff at your workplace

  • supervisors

  • family members

  • fellow students

  • clients

  • acquaintances

  • individuals within your community

Related: Career Advancement Strategies (With Steps and Tips)

Why is networking important in business?

Networking allows you access to opportunities you might not be able to find on your own. Your network has the potential to provide you with insight into different fields, information on what potential employers look for and advice on how you can improve professionally. If you are willing to form and maintain the relationship, a single contact could get you into meetings or interviews with several companies without you having to work to form connections at each one.

Effective networking can save you time, effort and stress, so knowing how to use it effectively can be a powerful tool for your professional development. The most common time for using your network is during a job search. If you are looking for a new career, your network can be a powerful tool. Your network can provide you with job leads, reference letters, job search advice and insight into new fields.

Tips to help you network

Here are some tips to help you build and maintain a large network as you advance in your career:

Communicate with colleagues

It's useful to communicate with the colleagues at your workplace to build your network. These may include the individuals whom you work with every day, like your team members or professionals in your department. It may also involve professionals at your workplace whom you may be less familiar with, like professionals in another department, office or team. While you may have less in common with professionals outside of your department, like differing specialities or fields, it's likely that you have a similar mission or goal while working in the same company.

Consider attending company events where you may have the chance to meet the staff members whom you don't work with regularly. You might also consider joining an organisation or club that your workplace may host, where you can meet numerous employees. By doing so, you may further grow your network and gain relationships with a variety of staff at your workplace.

Related: 15 Ways on How to Communicate Effectively at the Workplace

Join a professional networking website

Consider joining a professional networking website, where you may expand your network and cultivate numerous contacts within your industry. These websites often allow you to create a job profile where you can share your work experience, skills, goals, education and interests. Other professionals with a similar background may connect with you. A key benefit of joining a professional networking website is that you may connect with individuals who work in a different city or country.

Attend networking events

Socialising at in-person events is a great way to grow your network, since it allows you to establish a personal connection with other professionals. Attending events is a great way to promote yourself since you can share stories about your background, accomplishments, services and goals. Consider attending events in your community that may allow you to meet other professionals or potential clients. Be sure to hand out your business cards to professionals who you meet at these events to help you leave a lasting impression and to provide them with a way to contact you.

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Create a business card

A business card contains your contact information, which often includes your full name, email address, phone number and a short statement about your services. It's useful to give business cards to potential clients or connections within your industry. When building your network, it may be useful to have business cards that you can provide individuals with quickly, in case you don't have time to explain your background and professional goals or services.

For example, if you attend a company event, you may offer business cards to each professional that attends the event. This allows you to connect with each attendee since you may not have time to have an in-depth conversation with each individual at the event. If that individual notices that they have a similar background, or if they have an interest in becoming your client, they may contact you using the information that you provided on the card.

Connect with the right people

Reach out to the people who can provide you with the specific help you need. If you are interested in a different field, connect with friends or family members who work in that industry. If you hope to switch to a new department in your workplace, talk to your colleagues who are a part of that team. You never know who might be able to help you at a later date, so make sure to connect with people working in a variety of industries and positions.

Be proactive

Cultivating your network year-round is crucial to maintaining beneficial connections. If you message a friend for a favor whom you speak with regularly, they may be more likely to recommend you to their employer. Maintaining pleasant relationships with your extended network at all times, even just by sending a short email to say hello, is the best way to make sure they're willing to help when you need them.

Keep track of your contacts

It is important to keep track of what the different contacts in your network can offer you. You may remember where your contacts worked previously, or where they work currently. For example, it's important to recall which of your previous coworkers now works in finance or which started teaching philosophy. It's also useful to know what you can offer as a contact. Ideally, networking allows for both parties to benefit, so be sure to let your network know how you can help them. If you are willing to support your friends, they are more likely to return the favour.

Express gratitude

To help you maintain relationships with your connections, be sure to express gratitude when they help you. They may help you learn a new skill, gain knowledge about your industry, find out about a job opportunity or secure a position. It's important to thank them, so they can understand that you're grateful to have them as a contact. This may help you maintain connections that last for a longer period of time since it may allow your contacts to feel that you appreciate them.

The method that you use to express your gratitude depends on the service they provided you. For example, if they provided helpful advice, then you may send a thank-you email or note. If they helped you earn a job, you may thank them in person or through a phone call.

Related: 101 Examples of How To Say 'Thank You for Your Time' at Work

Ask your connections for help

Communicate with professionals within your network to see if they have anyone in their network who has a similar background, qualifications or career goals as you do. They may have new connections whom you may add to your network. Consider reaching out to your contacts and asking them if they may provide your name and contact information to connections within their network.

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