Networking: It's not even a buzz word anymore. It has become one of the fundamental and successful ways of getting hired. Networking is how important introductions are made, how your business grows, and how you build your personal brand.

Networking sounds complicated, but it's not. You are probably doing it already! When you know how to network to your benefit, you're influencing your future. Here are 5 reasons to continue to nurture your current social network and to keep adding new faces:

1. Save time

Looking for a new job? Do you want to work for a certain company? When you use your social network, others may have job leads that can help you find a great position. Or you may find the perfect employee without having to place an ad. may also be able to help with someone else's request.

2. Prepare for a rainy day

You may not need the name of a heart specialist today. But someday--when you least expect it--you will. When you build a strong network, those relationships can become resources. And they will gladly help you, because you have come to know each other, even if you have never met. Facebook friends can be helpful. So can the people you meet when you volunteer for your church, Parent Teacher Association, or as a Cub Scout leader.

3. Discover opportunities

You may not have remembered, but once you told a high school friend about your dream job. Then he calls you, because his neighbor happens to work at that company and mentioned they were hiring...for your dream job. It really happens; you may not know when, where, or how, but networking does bring people together in magical ways.

4.Raise your profile

The more you show up, the more people will recognize you. When you contribute to a group or participate in a charitable event, your enthusiasm shows. You become memorable, which is paid off when someone thinks of you for a referral or sale.Visibility matters, so make an effort to do the things you enjoy. Introduce yourself, ask some questions, and offer your own expertise to others.

5.Pay it forward

Much like a big city expressway, networking is an enormous web of connections, going in all directions. When you engage in a network, you are plugging into a wealth of experience and knowledge. Including yours. Helping a new neighbor, recommending a reliable mechanic, or volunteering at your child's school mean that you are making someone else's network stronger, too.

One thing to remember about networking: you get out of it what you put in. It's satisfying to know that you're building your future, and having fun!

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