The importance of networking

The Career Service offers planning, counselling, and training

(By Lamberto Martinello, Part-time MBA student)

21 October 2015

Maybe we don’t realize it, but as human beings we have been used to network since we were born: whether we were at kindergarten trying to get to know new kids or we were at the park in the neighborhood deciding the teams for a soccer game, we have risen unconsciously aware of the importance of a good networking. Growing up, although we might forget it, we constantly look for making stronger relationship, increasing our access to information, creating new opportunities, receiving good advices and support and absorbing fresh ideas: those are the exact five pillars that summarize the importance of networking, as mentioned by Luca Conti during his seminar “Smart Networking for your Career” that took place during an MBA class on November 9th, 2015.

What I believe is the true challenge that as people, students, professionals we are facing today is that we have to do more, better and faster, and in terms of networking this translates in getting acquainted that creating and managing a good network is essential. It isn’t easy though, and to many it may represents almost as demanding as a second job. On the other hand, benefits could be impressive. I believe it’s the key that will make us start analyzing our existing network with a clear idea of what we want it to become in the near future, implementing all the tools and actions that will enable us to form a circle of trusted people, colleagues and professionals on whom we can rely on for confrontation.

Obviously living in a constantly increasing digitalized world, we have to consider social media and networks as new vectors that can help us introducing ourselves. Whether we decide to rely on LinkedIn (top choice in my opinion) or Twitter or Facebook, we have to design our profiles as if they were our digital business card. This attitude extends as well on the content we then publish and share: we have to understand that we are also part of somebody else network, and what we have to act accordingly in order to represent an added value.

There are a few considerations that I think people have to keep in mind while structuring their network. To begin with, it’s a two way process: on one side we want to make our network grow in order to have the possibility to interact and confront in case of need with as many professionals as possible, but also we have to be able to bring something to the table. If we are part of a group, not only we have to listen in order to learn, but we also should participate: we never know whether our point of views might result valuable to somebody else (it’s intrinsic in the nature of a network). Secondly, we have to constantly nurture our network. I think it’s a bit unprofessional to contact people of the network just when we are looking (sometimes desperately) for some kind of help, whether is just an advice or most of the time a search for an opportunity. How many times in our private life we look with distrust at people that we don’t hear from for ages and all of a sudden turn up with a request? Networking is no different. If we constantly participate and add a value in what we discuss and share, we will then find ourselves in a position where we can be considered “serious”. Last but not least: we cannot be on a rush. The toughest thins to understand is that creating (sometimes designing) and managing a good network is a lengthy process, and that the advantages can be experienced in the long term. The key , is to have a clear action plan that can ease the development of the network, being aware that we need to be patient.

As absurd as it may sound, I strongly believe that we have been aware all our lives that networking is a valuable asset in everything that we do, whether it’s professional or personal, but through time we forget how centralized  it is in our everyday life. The greatest challenge in my opinion is to start putting networking back where it belongs in our personal rank of things to be taken care of because we never know when it may turn out being useful.

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