Networking takes time and effort. And for many, the idea of networking is equivalent to hearing the sound of fingernails being dragged across a chalkboard. The reality is that networking is essential and you should make it a priority. Here's why.
Glen Llopis wrote a great article on how networking can be a great professional boot camp. In the article he discusses the competitive edge that networking gives and the disadvantage you'll be at if you don't network: "The more you procrastinate, the more you will find yourself disconnected from the opportunities that may potentially advance your career or allow you to meet the right people."
Another reason to prioritize networking: It can help you get a job. According to Dr. John Sullivan, author, professor, and thought-leader, the odds of getting a job you see posted online are pretty slim -- about 1:100. Your odds of getting a job via your network are much more promising. ABC News reported that 80% of jobs are landed through networking. A recent survey found that 46% of active candidates and 49% of passive candidates found employment via networking. Another study found that half of all jobs in the United States are filled through personal contacts.
Interestingly, research has also shown that the bigger the network size, the bigger the salary. Specifically, the study found that a 50% increase in network size accompanies a 3.8% increase in salary with respect to the average.
Moreover, Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of The Muse and The Daily Muse, points out that "Networks are powerful, and when done right leave you surrounded by a core of individuals who are all rooting for your success and happy to help you."
Something to remember as you go out there and network -- contacts aren't something to just collect like stamps or pennies. Rather, your network is a body that needs to be nurtured and fostered.