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The world of networking is a vast and changing place. If five separate people were asked what networking is, they’d most likely give five different answers. Entrepreneur magazine defines networking as developing and using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason for the initial contact.

For example, a real estate agent may ask a broker for potential new leads for customers, or a sales representative may ask a customer for names of others who may be interested in her product.

The ability to successfully network and maintain a relationship with those contacts is one of the most crucial skills in almost all aspects of business. The best way to succeed is to make a plan, commit to it, and execute. However, before anyone can successfully begin networking, they must understand the importance of it so that they can implement it in the best way for their particular careers.

Take a look at the top benefits of networking below.

Connections To Opportunity

This is the number one reason for networking. Beginning as early as college, networking can help limit the amount of time needed to find a new position and stay updated on recent job vacancies. When connections are made with people, who work for top brands and firm, the chances of career development and job placement increase.

For example, if you meet with a CEO of a company and engage in a productive discussion that impresses her, the chances for a job offer skyrocket.

Networking also enables workers access to the ‘informal’ job market. For example, say the CEO from the first instance was impressed and had shared contact information, she may then reach out and inform them when a position opens up at her firm or at a friends company.

Interconnected Learning

An office is a professional community with people of different expertise in each workstation. Through attending meetings, discussing business issues and helping others are easy ways to create an interconnected community. Even within the workplace, employees can use networking skills to increase knowledge about job tricks and tactics.

As more people become part of a person’s ‘network,’ their access to a wide range of knowledge and experience substantially expands. This means they’ll have a variety of backgrounds, knowledge, and experience to learn from, as well as people to turn to that can offer advice, guidance, and assistance.

Enhanced Expertise

A massive benefit of networking and maintaining relationships with skilled workers is the benefits it has for skill advancement. By connecting with experts and other professionals, people are encouraged to learn more, strive harder, and be better. Through observation, new skills can be acquired from acquaintances and colleagues that can help further down on the road to success. The more extensive the network, the more significant the professional growth.