You’ve probably heard the term “networking.” The definition is simple, “to connect or operate with a network.” But what is this “network” and where can I find it? When I find it what do I do? Most importantly, why do I even need it? Truthfully, I never really truly understood the value of a network until I moved to DC and started becoming more involved with a professional community; but regardless of where you are living or what career you are in, networking can be your lifeblood.
Networking is a way to build your community, not only of professional colleagues, but people who are in the same space as you. You need a network of people who work in around the same space as you do. Building that community of people that work in similar environments, have experiences that you haven’t, that can mentor you, or even help you find that job is incredibly important. You might think, “Well, I have a job already. Isn’t networking really meant for those looking?” The answer is a resounding no!
- Working Towards a Common Goal – Networking is far more than just a fancy way to job seek. For me it has been about finding a group of people that is working towards the same goal. We may not be doing exactly the same job, but we are all working towards a common goal. We can support and help each other.
- Connecting Others – One of my favorite stories to tell is about the time I was at a large military spouse event. We were given the task of going around the table and telling the others what our “one thing” is that we want to accomplish. Our goal from this exercise was to then see if we knew someone that could help that person accomplish that goal. The moment one of the women shared her goal I knew exactly who I wanted to connect her with. And the only reason I knew the perfect person was because I had been introduced to that person through networking. You see, networking isn’t just about you and what you need. Networking can help you make connections that that person will remember and could change their course for the positive.
- You Never Know – One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you truly do never know what could happen as a result of the connections you make when you’re networking. What seems like a very formal, only professional thing you do when you’re looking for a job can be so much more. The networking that I participated in with NMSN has gotten me clients, helping me develop what my actual passion was without me even knowing it! Its built friendship with strong women that continue to be an inspiration daily to me. You never know what those connections could bring to you.
I hope you consider joining us at the Rocky Mountain Summit in Colorado Springs on June 11th and 12th, or the Capital Summit in Springfield, VA on October 12th and 13th. Even if you aren’t sure that the sessions will be for you, the value in the networking opportunities alone is priceless. I have never regretted putting myself out there at one of their events and neither will you! Because remember, you never know what opportunities are waiting for you when you do.
Rheanna Christine is a National Guard spouse currently based in Washington, DC. She has been featured in Military Spouse Magazine, USA Today’s InDefense, and National Guard and Reserve Magazine. In 2016, she co-founded SpouseTalks, an interactive forum targeted to all Service Branches. She works with various clients in the military community assisting them with growing their social media and developing creative content for the websites and blogs. You can visit her at cammostylelove.com and follow her on instagram @RheChristine