Networking can be very helpful to your career. This article shows you how to build a network for greater success and become a more confident, mobile free agent in the workplace. And networking works! 65 to 80% of all jobs are found through networking.

The idea is to develop a network of friendly people who share information to help each other. It is best known as a strategy for opening the hidden job market, for getting a good job. Because many jobs (some would say most) are not advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships with people who can tip you off to job openings -- perhaps even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring. There is some truth in, "It's not what you know, but who you know."

Networking has other benefits. You are creating a community of people who support each other, who provide emotional support and information that will help each other. You will learn of new developments in your field: new tools, processes, leaders, training programs, products and services. You may discover the solution to a problem you face at work. And, you may have the satisfaction of providing the key piece of information that makes a real difference in the life of one of those in your network.

Networking is a planned, and ongoing effort. You set goals, develop strategies for achieving them, take action, evaluate how well your plan is working, and make changes as necessary. It is something that you do throughout your career.

How to build a network in five steps:

  1. Make a Networking Plan;

  2. Make contact;

  3. Organize your network;

  4. Take action; and

  5. Practice networking etiquette.