Networking is being in relationship

Whether we’re actively seeking work or not, we should always be networking. And, in my opinion, we are. Because networking is about being in relationship.

The thing is that there are good ways to be in relationship, and crummy ways.

Networking, at its best, is strengthening relationships through reciprocity.

Networking, at its worst is about amassing LinkedIn connections without any meaningful engagement or reaching out solely when you need a favour. Bad networking is hitting someone up just to pick their brain (ewwww) and then disappearing into the abyss, never to be heard from again.

What networking looks like when you focus on relationships

In my opinion (and, clearly I have many strong ones on this topic), you are building relationships in your career when:

You help someone: Offer mentorship, provide advice, or give tangible support.

You are kind to someone: Bring positive energy, encouragement, and a supportive attitude.

You actively contribute: Share your experience, insights, and knowledge with those around you.

You share: Create an environment of trust and openness by freely sharing your expertise.

You show up: Be present at virtual meet-ups, professional events, and in meaningful conversations.

The good news

If you subscribe to the above, then networking doesn’t have to be an awkward, forced activity.

It might still feel like that in some circumstances. For example, I get timid and feel uncomfortable at work-related events where I don’t know people well and there isn’t a structured way for us to interact. Nevertheless, I attend these by thinking about the overall value of the event (vs fixating on the awkwardness of the situation).

If you tend to recoil at the thought of networking, the good news is that networking can be achieved by simply being attentive to relationships in your everyday interactions.

Closing advice: Regardless of your current job search status, make fostering connections a consistent part of your career journey. Reframe networking from a perceived “professional chore” to a purposeful effort in building relationships. Trust that this approach will contribute to more meaningful work and supporting your success.

If you’re in a work or career situation that needs a change, and you want some support in creating that change, contact me. Book a free call to find out how I can help you.

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