No One Succeeds Alone: The Importance of Networking for a Blue-Collar Career

Success is a shared path. Your talent, discipline and initiative will help you reach your goals, but it’s rare for anyone to achieve it alone. You need a social support structure. These people help keep you walking forward while you do the same for them. The importance of networking can’t be ignored if you want to reach your full potential.

What is Networking?

You may have heard the term hundreds of times throughout your life. But what exactly is networking? It’s a blanket term for building your social structure. Any time you hand someone your business card, shake their hand and exchange names or even just e-mail them, you’re networking.

Your network consists of more than just the people you know. It’s also the people they know. So every time you establish a connection with someone, you’ve likely tapped into a group of dozens of people to add to your network.

The most important part of networking is to just do it. Get your name out there, meet new people and be willing to ask your friends for connections.

The Importance of Networking for Success

There are several reasons that networking is critical for your success, whether you’re a blue-collar professional or anything else. This means you should start building your social support structure sooner rather than later.

Networks Find You Work

If you asked anyone the importance of networking, the first thing they’ll say is that it’s how you find a job. And they aren’t wrong! Thousands of job openings every year never make it to a public listing. Why? Because someone else at that company knows someone who fits the bill.

Knowing the right person at the right time is sometimes all it takes to get your dream job. Of course, you need to be talented and hard-working to encourage them to suggest you in the first place. But at the end of the day, it’s all these things combined that can get you signed onto the team. 

They Also Keep You Focused

Another benefit of your network is sharing your goals. In some cases, your network will include your colleagues, and many of you will be working towards similar goals. When that happens, you can share your experiences and knowledge to help you both achieve your goals faster with fewer setbacks.

More frequently, however, is that your network will help you keep your eye on the prize. When setbacks happen, they’ll pick you up and motivate you to push forward. If you start to lose focus, they can get you back on the path.

Lastly, your network will be made up of those at all stages in their careers. If you choose the right people, you’ll see dozens of people who started where you are now achieve their goals. In addition to having experience to share with you, their accomplishments will help you realize your goals are achievable too! 

You’ll Be Able to Learn from Leading, Too

As you continue down your path, you’ll meet people who are newly beginning. They will also be working towards building a network, finding colleagues, friends and, often most importantly, a mentor.

While it’s easy to grasp the benefits of being mentored, you can grow your skills and yourself by being the mentor, too! Being a leader helps you develop certain traits, like communication skills and self-reflection. 

You’ll also be surprised at how much you can learn from someone with a fresh outlook in your career field! 

How to Get Started Building Your Blue-Collar Network

Like anything in life, your network can only grow if you put in the legwork. Get out there and start building. Here are some tips to point you in the right direction:

Think Outside Your Industry – Trying or learning new things is a great way to quickly expand your network. You’ll meet people who have their own networks that are likely untapped by yours, making them all new opportunities. You’ll also benefit from expanding your skills!

Volunteer – Don’t look at volunteering as working for free. Remember, most people who volunteer their time are highly-motivated. These are the best type of people to build a network around. They’re using their free time to better their community and themselves. Opportunities for volunteering are nearly endless. Find a great organization and get your name out there.

Give & Take – Focusing entirely on yourself is an easy mistake to make. Networking with you should be valuable, too. If you know of opportunities for your social circle, be proactive in sharing it! Those favors will come back to help you later in life.

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Ken Rusk is a blue-collar entrepreneur who has started several successful endeavors and mentored hundreds of young people in their pursuit of a satisfying career and fulfilling life.

Discover how Ken’s approach to life and work can help you set and achieve your goals – all while avoiding the nearly inescapable trap of college debt. Pre-order his new book, Blue Collar Cool: How to Earn Without the College Burn today!