Find Out Why You Do!  By Mary Gormandy White

Do you think that only people who work in sales can benefit from building a professional network? This is a common misconception, but it could not be further from the truth. The fact is that no matter what line of work you are in, it’s important for you to build professional relationships with likeminded people that you may be able to assist, and who may also be able to help you at some point in your career.

4 Ways You Can Benefit from Networking

1. Referrals
Many business and employment opportunities are passed via referral. When you need someone to perform a service for you, don’t you start out by asking people you know and trust for ideas of who to contact? When you do that, you are asking for referrals. It only makes sense to seek to do business with individuals and companies that our friends and colleagues recommend rather than those that we don’t know anything about.

2. Resources
Regardless of the type of work you do, there will be times that you need to locate products, services, or other types of assistance with projects you are working on. It’s much easier to find what you need if you already have existing relationships with people who can assist you, or who are able to put you in touch people who provide the help you need. If you’ve built a strong professional network and have a reputation for being willing to help others, you’ll have an easier time finding people to pitch in when you need help yourself.

3. Reputation
There’s no substitute for being viewed as a reputable professional. No matter what type of business you are in, having a good reputation will serve you well throughout every stage of your career. When you cultivate a strong network of people who know that you are a person of integrity, your reputation will benefit. Make sure that people come to recognize you as someone who can be trusted and counted on to follow through with what you promise.

4. References
When you are looking for a new job, seeking a leadership position in a community organization, or are being considered by a prospective client, it’s important to have professionals outside of your workplace who are willing to speak on your behalf. When you have a strong network, you’ll be able to reach provide positive references who can help you accomplish your goals. Remember that it’s essential to ask for permission before using someone you know as a reference.

Start Building Your Network
Are you ready to start building your professional network? There are so many benefits associated with cultivating a strong network that the time and effort you spend doing so will certainly be time well spent. You’ll benefit personally and professionally from reaching out and getting to know other professionals in your community and in your industry. Find a professional association or business development group that’s appropriate for you and join today! Remember that you must actively participate in order to benefit. Putting your name on a membership roster just means that you have joined the group. To build credibility with the members and to grow your network, you must commit to becoming an engaged and active participant.

About the Author
Mary Gormandy White, M.A., SPHR is the Training Coordinator for Mobile Technical Institute & MTI Business Solutions ( ), where she specializes in human resources, management, and public relations training. She teaches open enrollment classes for MTI, provides on-site corporate training, and frequently speaks at conferences and association meetings. She is also the author of 101 Successful PR Campaign Tips and 101 Human Resources Management Tips in the LifeTips book series. MTI provides a variety of consulting services, including IT Training, certification testing, resume writing, HR & PR consulting, custom database development and website solutions.