By: Fathima Shaikh
Networking. Chances are, you've probably heard this word or even performed the action. Maybe you've been told the phrase: your network is your net worth. But what exactly is networking? Networking is the process of developing connections to exchange information and develop professional relationships. Simply put, networking entails expanding the number of people in your circle. But what exactly are the benefits of networking? Why is this term something we hear so much in the professional world?
According to Janet Protas, the Vice President of Multi-Family Development at Conor Real Estate, "Most people think of networking as a way to make personal connections that will benefit you in business. But it is also a valuable way to gather information on market trends and learn how others in your industry are approaching common problems. The value of the information gained from networking cannot be underestimated. Just make sure you make it a two-way street, so that others gain valuable insights from you as well." Networking can be the key to your next job or internship opportunity. When you're able to develop connections with someone, the likelihood of them putting in a good word for you or wanting to involve you in their corporate goals is much higher. According to CNBC, 70% of jobs are never published publicly. Instead, jobs are obtained from the people individuals know. HubSpot stresses that 85% of jobs are acquired through networking!
However, networking doesn't have to be solely based on business. In fact, your primary goal should be to deepen social relationships. You can find online and in-person opportunities to network with individuals from a wide array of backgrounds, or you could simply strike up a conversation with an individual with whom you have similar interests! As a teenager, you can talk to adults about career paths of interest.
How do you start? There are a variety of different physical and virtual platforms. As a teen, you can join clubs your school hosts and meet like-minded people. You can attend any of your
parents’ work events, or you can strike up a conversation with any teachers or mentors you have. Linkedin, a platform made specifically to make the networking process easier, is also an amazing tool. A representative from the Urban Land Institute, a group for real estate leaders looking to create a positive impact, stresses the importance of joining groups with people who have similar interests. "It helps build a strong network of support for your career, and it's easy to find as well! Just search up networking events for your interest and you're bound to find something."
One thing is for sure, once you start reaping the long-term benefits of networking, you won't regret it!