It amazes me how many people do not actively network. Even more surprising is the limited networking that many students do. For instance, using LinkedIn. If LinkedIn had been around when I was a student, there is no telling where my career would have gone. In my discussions with professionals, there seems to be common excuses for not networking. Here are the top three networking misconceptions I consistently hear:
#1: Networking is for self-promoting schmoozers – Networking isn’t solely the life of those desperate for a job. Networking simply involves making mutual connections. By tapping into our connections, we can share ideas, pass along opportunities, and benefit from one another’s expertise.
#2: Network is for salespeople – Wrong! Our professional success depends on the relationships we build. You may not be a salesperson and you may not be outgoing, but you can’t deny that networking is founded upon relationships. Regardless of your position or personality, you’d be wise to maximize your networking opportunities.
#3: Networking is uncomfortable, forced, and boring – We tend to imagine networking as speed dating awkwardly applied to the professional level. Nothing could be more inaccurate. The best networkers realistically share themselves (their talents, knowledge, resources) to benefit others.
Although the concept of networking has been tainted by mythical misconceptions, wise leaders know the importance of connecting and building relationships for professional success.