It’s natural to hunker down and focus on your current job when the economy takes a turn for the worse. After all, with layoffs happening left and right, it’s more important than ever to hang onto your gig.
But even in tough times, networking is still critical to career success. In fact, networking may be even more important during a recession, when jobs are scarce, and competition is fierce.
Here are 8 reasons you should invest in your network:
1. Your network is your safety net.
Your professional network is made up of people who can vouch for your skills and experience. They may be able to help you land a new gig if you’re laid off. So, if you’ve been meaning to reconnect with old colleagues or make new contacts, a recession is the perfect time to do it.
2. Networking can help you weather a layoff.
If you do find yourself out of a job, your network can be an invaluable resource. Your contacts may be able to help you land interviews, provide leads on open positions, or even offer a temporary place to crash.
3. You never know who knows who.
Networking is critical in any job search. But it’s especially important to tap into your network during a recession when jobs are scarce. Why? Because you never know who knows who. One of your contacts may have a connection to the very person who’s hiring for the position you’re seeking.
4. It’s not all about you.
When you network, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about you. Sure, you’re trying to further your career, but you should also be trying to build relationships and help others. If you focus on giving rather than taking, you’ll be more likely to build lasting relationships – and that’s what networking is all about.
5. You never know when you’ll need a favor.
Another important reason to focus on building relationships is that you never know when you’ll need a favor. Perhaps you’ll need a resource for a current work project, a consultant for the next quarter, a reference for a job you’re applying for, or maybe you’ll need help getting your foot in the door at a company you’re interested in. If you’ve built strong relationships with your network contacts, they’ll be more likely to be there for you when you need them.
6. Networking keeps you sharp.
When you’ve used the same skills in a job for a while, it’s easy to let unused skills and experience get rusty. But if you continue to network, you’ll stay sharp and up-to-date on industry trends. Plus, networking allows you to practice your elevator pitch and hone your interviewing skills, which will come in handy when you’re ready to jump back into the job market.
7. Networking can lead to new opportunities.
Networking can still be beneficial even if you’re not actively looking for a new job. You never know when a new opportunity will present itself, and it’s always good to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your industry. By networking, you’ll be in the know about new companies, upcoming trends, and, of course, open positions.
8. It’s never too late to start networking.
If you’ve been slacking on your networking efforts, it’s not too late to start – even during a recession. If you’re unsure where to begin, try attending industry events, joining professional organizations, or simply reaching out to old colleagues. No matter how you do it, make sure you start networking today.
The bottom line
Networking is critical to career success – even during a recession. If you haven’t been making an effort to connect with your contacts, now’s the time to start. Who knows, your next job could be just a connection away.