For any professional, balancing growth and maintaining business relations is important.
In this balance, a professional network creates support for the individual to leap forward with confidence and also seek help at any point of the way. An employee has to know how networking works and essentially utilize them in a beneficial manner for their own benefit.
Let us explore this aspect further and find out how this connects with professional growth and how they work together.
We are all familiar with social networking where the primary objective is to connect with people to share personal experiences and create a stronger bonding with family and friends. The content shared in social networking is mostly humor, entertainment and personal updates. Professional networking on the other hand is geared towards career growth. It is achieved by connecting with like minded professionals mostly from the current job, past job or people with similar skills and job profile. Career growth objective is achieved by sharing professional content that will help to improve the professional skills and identify job opportunities as they are created, notified by this network. As you can see Professional networking is quite different from social networking that we are familiar with and let us see how to build an effective network.
A. What is a professional network?
B. Elements of a professional network
C. Types of professional networks
D. Opportunities and benefits of a professional network
E. How does a professional network lead to professional growth?
F. Typical hiring pattern
G. Means to steer professional growth
What is a Professional Network?
Let us start with a simple definition of what a professional network is. The reason this is important, is because there are clear differences between social media and professional networks.
The following table will show the top three characteristics of each:
Capturing the top points from the above table; Professional network is an association between a group of people who can help build professional skills and aid in career growth.
Given the above definition, let us do some analysis on the professional networking platforms to see how it is helping in these two parameters. If it does not, you need to start building a new professional network that will drive your career growth.
Likes and shares are great for social media but not professional networking. Professional networking needs constructive feedback. Learn to make your resume that stands apart.
Elements of a professional network
There are various factors that come into play to form a network that establishes roots for growth and steer in the direction towards such opportunities. These elements form the outline of the environment of a professional network that drives towards a considerable level of personal and improve professional growth.
As with any networking, the network begins with communication. Effective communication, wherein you have a plan and stick to it to establish rapport with contacts useful for your growth.
Networking begins as simple as going over and talking to people, offering solutions to their problems and proposing a relationship that can be mutually beneficial. This in turn helps in constructing personal growth and professional development.
An important step that goes without saying is having a follow-up system to manage these relationships and not disregard any of these contacts. A professional relationship has to be respected and treated with loyalty, and hence take your professional network higher.
Types of professional networks
As a leader, or even as an assistant, you have to have a clear understanding of the flows of networking, and what can be best utilized for a specific situation.
These professional network examples act as the powerhouse of effective communication involved in management, all of which ultimately drives towards professional growth and success.
Expansive Network -
This network comprises various contacts including your former colleagues or contacts from your industry who can deliver a clear opinion at your field of work because of their past or present experience with the situation.
Nodal Network -
This network doesn’t necessarily fit inside your area of work, but can potentially provide you insights that can steer your business forward. These contacts are likely to be street smart individuals, who can branch out from your line of work to strategically offer you solutions.
Personal Network -
These contacts are your personal contacts, from your family, friends and other relationships, who may even be unrelated to your line of work but can pose you certain benefits.
Opportunities and benefits of a professional network
How often do you come across situations that make you think you would highly benefit from having a strong and large number of contacts as a professional network? Maybe it would be inside of business outings, or feel it personally at any occasion, and always somewhere along your journey to success. There are numerous professional growth opportunities found in having a strong professional network that can pass hurdles that arise at a company. Some examples are:-
- New Ideas - Generating new ideas and innovations that enhance business or save time are a fuel to any organization. Your professional network can act as a counsel to pitch in new ideas or offer suggestions to existing ones.
- Strength your connections - Interestingly enough, having a number of contacts at various areas expands the network further from their contacts. This strengthens your network, to borrow the networks of contacts involved in your professional network.
- Gain more Knowledge - You have to be a constant learner to survive in business. When you give space to gain knowledge at areas you are weaker at from your contacts, you can implement it at your business or simply be more knowledgeable which also invariably adds to your resources.
- Boost your Career Growth - Your career growth can be elevated by having a vast network. So how do you think professional networking benefits help in your career growth? Let’s find out.
How does a professional network lead to professional growth?
Building relationships through networking derives professional growth opportunities to a large extent. The importance of professional growth is irreplaceable since an organization has to constantly strive to achieve its objectives, and having no objectives to look forward to negates the entire essence of running a business.
Having a strong professional network makes you better equipped at every occupational hurdle and error. Your network pitches in suggestions, opinions on your actions and guides you towards the better path. Personal and professional development is largely increased by achieving this external support and guidance.
Typical hiring pattern
Hiring a candidate for a position is a critical decision that is both time consuming and an expensive process. Most positions can take several weeks to months to hire which is obvious, however on the expense side the costs may not be well understood by most and the following are major cost factors:
- Recruiter salary or commissions
- Job portal subscription
- Finder’s fee
- Time spent by hiring manager
- Loss of productivity and revenue due to vacant position
While the hiring cost is high, the cost of hiring a wrong candidate is even more higher and will hurt the productivity of an organization. In most cases about 10 to 40% of candidates turn out to be misfits and with the number going higher for senior positions.
Therefore, it is crucial to distinguish hiring patterns for getting the right employee on board. A hiring pattern not only narrows the employee prospects, but also brings in recruiters with the demanding criterias.There are three distinct hiring patterns with the characteristics mentioned below:
Push and Pull patterns described above gives very little visibility into the candidates’ credentials as there as feedback from their professional network is missing, hence most organizations prefer referral route but the available pool for the hiring manager is very limited and the availability of jobs for the candidate is also limited to the size of professional network that has visibility into your work.
Can we have the best of both worlds? Yes, let us see how to accomplish that.
Means to steer professional growth
As stated earlier, professional growth is pushed forward by having an extensive and resourceful professional network.
Even during the stages of hiring, one of your most important assets for growth can be having a counsel of your network that you can approach for a second opinion and better suggestions.
It becomes essential to have a medium that nurtures a network that has mutual benefits around this crucial asset.
getCREDIBLE is a profile builder and job finder website to facilitate extensive job search and maintain a professional network, and even enjoy the benefits of it.
During the hiring process, it is very important that you have a professional credibility attached to you and your resume, where you are vouched for by reputable others. getCREDIBLE makes this happen by implementing a constant rating system that lets you and your contacts mutually leave reviews of each other’s works. These comments would be completely anonymous feedback and would be charted on a timeline based graph.
When the focus is set at professional growth, this feature with its assured professional credibility makes you go the extra mile. With higher professional credibility ratings, you will stand out in the competition and build trust with the recruiters.
Furthermore, you can leverage all channels to improve visibility and also enable your profile to be displayed in a certain way that you showcase the areas that you are proficient at, dimming the others.
Try getCREDIBLE today and start building your professional credibility.