Networking is an essential part of building your career; at least it supposedly is. But, not everyone has the same experiences and networking can sometimes feel like a chore and not get you anywhere. So, is there really any value in networking at the end of the day or is this just a saying that no longer applies.
I’m going to break this down into two camps of thought. There are people in camp A where they believe a persons work/accomplishments should speak for itself and therefore no networking is needed because the work will propel them further in life. Then there is camp B where people believe knowing the right people is more important as a strong network presents more opportunities to grow and learn from others.
Both groups are right to a certain extent because knowing the right people and having accomplishments that help establish a reputation will greatly propel you further up in life. What does that really mean?
People vouch for other people in the real world. Reputation matters, so in that sense having a network is essential. But, in order to have people vouch for you, a good list of accomplishments or work history is important. So, both really build upon each other. I’m sure some people have made their way up the corporate ladder through just networking and pretending they have the ability to do things, but that is very rarely the case. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who are very hard workers, but no one recognizes their hard work or vouches for them so they keep getting passed up for promotions.
There’s a skill in balancing good work ethic and knowing the right people (and also luck being in the right place and time). So definitely continue networking, but also remember to bring something to the table as well because it’s not just a one way street.
“It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.” –Bob Burg