6 Reasons Why You Need to Network Within Your Company — And 5 Ways How

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Lesa Edwards, Career Coach & Master Resume Writer4.13k
THE career expert for high achievers
April 15, 2024 at 3:29AM UTC

Many people think of networking only in the context of looking for a new job at a new company, but networking can serve many purposes. 

Networking is formally, dictionary-defined as “The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”

What I glean from this definition is that networking is: 

  • An exchange of information or services

  • The cultivation of productive relationships

It’s pretty obvious to me that networking can — and should — be done in a variety of settings, and for a range of reasons. 

Why You Need to Network Within Your Company

Let’s talk specifically about networking within your existing employer. Why would you want to take time out of your busy schedule to build relationships at work? Here are six reasons: 

1. You build trust.

When you network within your organization, you are building relationships, establishing rapport, and cultivating mutual trust and respect. This facilitates higher productivity and a better overall work experience. 

2. You gain access to mentors.

Networking can expose you to potential mentors who can help your career in a variety of ways. Conversely, mentees can identify you as someone they would like to mentor them. 

3. You learn more about your company.

You can use your internal network to learn more about other facets of the company - other career paths and jobs that might be of interest to you. You can also learn how to enter those career paths and possibly secure an advocate to help you with your career transition. 

4. You can level up.

Internal networking can expose you to stretch assignments, committee appointments, or project teams you wouldn’t otherwise know about or be considered for. This can help tremendously with positioning you for promotion. 

5. You’ll get inside info.

Internal networking exposes you to insider knowledge on job opportunities before they become public knowledge. Similarly, you will have an internal network to champion you for those positions. 

6. You’re preparing for your future.

People move on to other companies. A vibrant internal network means you are also cultivating an external network for the future. 

Who You Need to Network With Within Your Company

Next, let’s talk about who you should network with. While you will no doubt have a few additional ideas specific to your situation, here are some universal ideas:

1. Peers. 

These are the people within your department or team who are at the same level as you. 

2. Stakeholders.

These are people inside the organization who have a stake in the product you produce or the service you provide - or people whose work you have a stake in. 

3. Cross-functional employees.

What other departments do you want to connect with, such as sales, marketing, finance, HR? 

4. Your boss’s peers. 

I recommend speaking with your boss about this — who would they recommend you connect with, and why? You don’t want your boss blindsided by finding out you have been meeting with his or her colleagues. 

5. Movers and shakers. 

Who else in your organization is high profile, well regarded, known as a high potential, or doing work that particularly interests you?  

How You Should Network With People In Your Company

Finally, let’s discuss how you should network with these individuals. Depending on the individual and your goal for meeting with them, here are five possibilities: 

  • Invite them to the cafeteria at work or the neighborhood coffee shop for a cup of coffee.

  • Ask if you can stop by their office for 15 minutes. 

  • Invite them to lunch.

  • Invite them to a luncheon meeting as your guest. 

  • Accept other’s invitations to be a guest at their luncheon events. 

What To Say

A good way to start these conversations is to get the other person talking about themselves. You want to keep it positive. Here are five great starter questions:

  • What are you currently working on? 

  • How did you land your job? 

  • What’s the best part of working in your department? 

  • Who in the company have you especially enjoyed working with and why? 

  • What has been your proudest achievement at this company? 

The best way to become an outstanding networker is to network. Be willing to get out there and make connections. You’ll have missteps and you’ll make mistakes…and that’s okay. 

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Lesa Edwards is a Master Resume Writer, Certified Job Search Strategist, Certified Executive and Leadership Development Coach, award-winning podcaster of The Exclusive Career Coach, Master Practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and international speaker on job search topics. Her practice includes clients on every continent except Antarctica. Lesa is focused on helping high-achieving mid-career professionals navigate their career and job search by preparing their marketing documents and creating customized job search strategies. 

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for networking at your current company? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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