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In today’s world, networking is crucial: Whether you’re looking to expand your business’s outreach, promote a project, or find a new job, one of the best tools to have in your corner is a well-developed network full of people who either have what you need or can help you find someone who does. If you’re looking to advance your career or even just want to connect with other professionals within your given industry, you need to give networking a try. Still not convinced? Check out these four reasons why networking is important.

Networking is about more than searching for a job.

While having a wide network of people is certainly helpful when you’re on the job hunt, it’s not the only time that professional connections can benefit you. Networking is a great way to learn more about your industry by interacting with and asking questions to other professionals whose pool of knowledge you’d like to tap into. Everyone has different experiences with their jobs, so asking questions and seeking advice from fellow professionals can help you determine how to handle difficult situations should they arise.

Everyone is networking.

While “everyone is doing it” may not be a good case for most things, in the case of networking it’s a good argument for it. If everyone else is out there making industry connections and linking up with people outside of their industry while you aren’t, when the time comes that having a network could strongly benefit you — looking to promote a cause, asking for industry advice, searching for a job — you’ll find that your resources are lacking what you need most in today’s market.

Networking is the act that keeps on giving.

If you’re effectively networking with people in and out of your industry, it should hold true that the more people you meet, the more opportunities you’ll have, which in turn will lead to you meeting more people and being presented with more opportunities and so on. Like many things in life, you get out of networking what you put into it, so doing it halfheartedly will result in halfhearted returns.

Networking can help you determine where you want your career to go.

Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, once famously said that “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with,” meaning you share personality traits and characteristics with the 5 closest people in your life, both personal and professional. If you want to get ahead with your career or are looking to find positive influences in  your life, networking and finding a mentor can help you plot out your future and reach your career goals.