When was the last time you attended a networking event? There were probably business cards flying everywhere, and even some people may have seemed to be in a contest to see how many business cards they could hand out without even talking to anyone. Unfortunately, that’s not networking at all, and if that’s how you are doing it, you are wasting your time.
Real networking is about building relationships. While those same networking events aren’t always the best place to do it, you can build relationships anywhere if you are trying to do it the right way. Focus on meeting people and taking a genuine interest in what they do instead of trying to rack up as many LinkedIn connections as possible, or just searching for someone who can give you a job.
Networking is important for building your career, but it’s also important for building yourself up as a person. Having a strong network gives you access to mentorship throughout your career as well as people you can call on when you need help or advice on a project, or in your career. And people with stronger networks are healthier overall, too!