1. A supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.
(definition from dictionary.com)
Networking really WORKS.
It’s a powerful tool. It’s a way of opening doors you never even knew existed.
Some of the best things in life are a result of networking: new job offers, travel opportunities, cars, even friendships. It’s all about interaction with people. It’s about keeping the lines of communication open and moving, passing on information from person to person.
Chances are, when you make the effort to do so, you’ll end up reaping the benefits. Someone is bound to know something that you didn’t know before. That someone could have a connection with a person who could set you up with a job/recommendation/car/restaurant/apartment/roommate/whatever-else-you-may-be-searching-for.
When you’re going to a new country, it can be extremely difficult to find your way in. Especially if you aren’t familiar with the language or the culture! If you have never lived in that city before, finding people who are familiar with it makes the whole experience so much better. It reduces culture shock, and perhaps you can even build new friendships this way.
Networking has been invaluable for me as I continue on my path to France. While I was in Paris this September, I schmoozed with professionals and expatriates, both young and old. I learned bits and pieces of interesting information and gathered quite a bit of advice. I’ve also met some really incredible people along the way!
The great thing is, you don’t have to wait until you get there to start making connections. Your networking can start right at home through the wonderful world-wide web. ( Internetworking ? ) There are plenty of expatriate resources and tips for living overseas that are just at your fingertips – try a Google search on your destination!
Perhaps you could also find some people nearby who are interested in the same things. For example, I’ve got a handful of friends who are also applying for the 2009-2010 assistance, and it has been nice to share my thoughts with them, posing and answering questions about forms, formalities and other important business. It’s been a real help. I’ve also recently had some job opportunities spring up thanks to the recommendation of a friend and a business idea of a former teacher. There is no telling whether or not these opportunities will pan out, but it is certainly worth a try!
A learning experience
Networking is also about learning from the successes and failures of other people. “Oh, are you thinking about coming to France? Make sure you don’t do what I did…do this instead…” etc.
A lot of times, you’ll find that you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. The more you connect with people and exchange ideas and information, the more opportunities will come. This does not mean that all of them will work out. However, it does provide a whole lot more to choose from!
That is why I talk about these Paris plans of mine with everyone, in the hopes that I may create another connection with someone who may be able to give advice.
So, just to sum up…here are the benefits to successful social networking:
- Sharing of resources
- Sharing of advice
- Sharing of personal experience – learn from others’ mistakes and successes
- Encouragement – pressing on, knowing that you’re never alone
- New opportunities – expanding horizons, opening up doors
- Learning more about others and yourself
In the spirit of good networking, I have added a new page on the right.
This is for anyone who may also be interested in moving to France. I am compiling a list of resources that have been particularly useful in my own search for answers. Please feel free to comment there and let me know if you have any other helpful tips or interesting links that I could add to my répertoire. I hope you’ll find something there to help you, too!