CAPS 265 Career Development III Capstone
In a competitive employment arena, every advantage should be taken to acquire the skills that will move you to the top of the hiring list. Networking in all of its forms—attending professional events, volunteering, social platforms, and more—is one of those skills that can seem intimidating but, if done well, can lead to personal and career growth.
To be successful in the workplace, you should network, volunteer, and be a participating member of professional and related organizations. Networking can keep you in the loop for unlisted job openings, educational or seminar opportunities, new technology, new companies, and new colleagues in your area. You can even extend the concept of networking to how you interact with your colleagues in the workplace; being professional, timely, considerate, thoughtful, helpful, and informed are all ways to get your co-workers to become an extension of your network that will benefit you in your career. Co-workers who feel supported and appreciated by you are more likely to support and appreciate you, which can lead to growth in your workplace and facilitate your long-term career goals.
All networking organizations have a purpose. Sometimes this purpose is professional, such as the American Medical Association, which lists its focus as "improving the health of the nation" (American Medical Association, 2015). Other organizations might have a purpose that is related to a profession but actively supports a larger goal through volunteerism. For example, Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer organization that almost any professional can contribute to through trade skills or donations, but Habitat for Humanity's overall purpose is to provide decent housing to everyone who needs it. A group such as Habitat allows people to coordinate their skills, network, and improve the community—intertwining career and personal growth.
The goal of all networking organizations is to create a community—whether the community is profession specific, volunteer oriented, or interest related—such as communities that share an interest in woodworking, video gaming, or art. Whether you are looking for contacts within your profession, opportunities to grow in your career, or personal growth, finding these communities is a great way to improve yourself professionally and personally.