Networking is important – no matter what career choice you have made. I cannot stress this enough to those I mentor. What is networking? Engaging in conversation for the purpose of developing professional contacts and exchanging information. Most information I have read encourages newbies to network (new to a field, fresh out of school, new to a company, or new to town or country.) That’s great advice. But remember, networking is a lifetime process. You build bridges and networks of colleagues that will expand your knowledge and the number of people you know.
What are the benefits of networking?
- Make important career contacts.
- Expand your pool of colleagues.
- Find potential clients or users.
- Find potential future employers.
- Exchange ideas and information.
- Form partnerships and collaborations.
- Find a mentor. Become a mentor.
- Learn about the culture of people or business through other people.
- Offer and obtain different points of view in your field.
- Are you thinking about changing jobs? Are you considering a professional partnership? Find out more about related fields.
- Find out more about specifics of a specialty in your field of work. What are the good points and the pitfalls?
When and where can you network?
- Start collaborating with your colleagues, friends, and acquaintances.
- Don’t skip that next meeting. Find someone you haven’t met yet and sit with them.
- Take advantage of off-site opportunities: workshops, seminars, and conferences.
- Join email lists (listservs), Google groups, Facebook groups, or other virtual worlds that are in your field or possible partnership areas.
- Join online tools, such as LinkedIn.
- If you attend an exhibitions or expos as a vendor, talk to the attendees and the other vendors.
- If nothing presents itself to you, seek out volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a positive experience that can open doors for you while assisting others.
In order for a networking experience to truly work, it should be mutually beneficial. “Excluding the search through want ads, studies have shown that 60 to 90 percent of jobs have been found because of personal contacts, relatives and friends” (see source below: OSBA).
Find people you can share ideas, work on presentations together, form partnerships with, advance your career, or more. Sometimes it’s as easy as sitting around a late night campfire that you find the people you can network with or that you find can be more than colleagues, they can become your friends.
Networking is the most fun part of my job. I appreciate learning something new from someone else in my field or from a different field’s perspective. I improve myself, my knowledge, and my career by simply finding new colleagues, patrons, and partners.
~I’m here to help
Further reading and resources:
Balacano, Tina Marie. 2016. The importance of networking for a person’s career & personal development… Linkedin. Retrieved from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-networking-persons-career-personal-tina-marie-balacano
Ohio State Bar Association. 2016. The importance of networking. OSBA. Retrieved from: https://www.ohiobar.org/NewsAndPublications/News/OSBANews/Pages/The-importance-of-networking.aspx
School of Information. 2016. What is Networking? San José State University. Retrieved from: http://ischool.sjsu.edu/career-development/networking/what-networking
Turner, Amber Leigh. 2016. 20 Social Networking Sites for Business. Sitepoint. Retrieved from: https://www.sitepoint.com/social-networking-sites-for-business/
Library Network Resources:
Librarians are great at networking. We pull together to share resources, compare programs, price shop, and share ideas. Being part of a Facebook group, library associations, or attending workshops and conferences are easily accessible to us worldwide.
ABOS. 2016. Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. Retrieved from: http://abos-outreach.com/
ALA. 2016. Engage with ALA. American Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/membership/myala/engage
ALA. 2016. Divisions. American Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/groups/divs/
ALA. 2016. Getting involved in IFLA: an intro webinar for U.S. librarians. American Library Association. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/offices/getting-involved-ifla-intro-webinar-us-librarians
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Retrieved from: http://www.ifla.org/about
Library Facebook Groups:
Beynen, Kaya van and Swenson, Camielle. 2016. Exploring Peer-to-Peer Library Content and Engagement on a Student-Run Facebook Group Kaya van Beynen and Camielle Swenson. Retrieved from: http://crl.acrl.org/content/77/1/34.full.pdf+html
Jess. 2015. From ALA to Zuckerberg: Librarian Facebook Group. 5 Minute Librarian. Retrieve from: http://www.5minlib.com/2015/02/from-ala-to-zuckerberg-librarian.html
Here are a few Facebook groups I have joined and find can be helpful:
ALA Think Tank – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ALAthinkTANK/
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/110013735696598/
Libraries & Social Media – https://www.facebook.com/groups/LibrarySocial/
Library Employee Support Network – https://www.facebook.com/groups/toxic.libraries/
Library Management Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1524906657799350/
WordPress and Librarians – https://www.facebook.com/groups/wordpress.librarians/