One popular misconception about networking is that it’s just for beginners. Once you’re established in your field, you might be helping others, but you don’t need much in the way of career support yourself.
The data, however, suggests otherwise. According to Harvard Business Review, networking can be operational, personal or strategic, but it’s essential for everyone. "The alternative to networking is to fail — either in reaching for a leadership position or in succeeding at it," the article’s authors, Herminia Ibarra and Mark Lee Hunter, write.
Strategic networking, in particular, can inform you of new directions within a given industry. It makes it easier to identify the "stakeholders" who can support you, especially when you’re taking your business or team in a new direction.
Ibarra and Hunter go on to lay down exactly what is at stake with strategic networking. "What differentiates a leader from a manager, research tells us, is the ability to figure out where to go and to enlist the people and groups necessary to get there. As they step up to the leadership transition, some managers accept their growing dependence on others and seek to transform it into mutual influence. Others dismiss such work as ‘political’ and, as a result, undermine their ability to advance their goals."
Need additional career support? Visit the University of Phoenix YouTube channel to hear 5 steps to strategically build your network from UOPX career advisor Carla Hunter.