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Networking is often thought of as navigating professional politics and getting to know the “right people” and leveraging the relationship for personal gain. However, for networking to be effective, it requires a genuine approach, in which you aim to provide value and help others, regardless of their status or what they can do for you. Learn about the benefits of networking with your professional peers, rather than just trying to impress “higher-ups”.

1. Relevant Knowledge

When you aim to make connections with those at your professional level, you stand to learn a lot from one another – likely more relevant and timely information than someone who is significantly senior than you may be able to offer. You can share tips on current trends, ask for one another’s input on how to handle common job-related issues, and perhaps even job leads. If your goal is to simply form a relationship without necessarily trying to get something out of it, you may learn of new opportunities in an organic way or be the one to spread them.

2. Professional Future

The person you’re networking with, who doesn’t have a lot of authority or status right now, is likely to elevate to a higher professional level in the future. Making it a goal to get to know your professional peers is a long-term investment in your future. You never know who you will cross paths with as you and your peers’ careers progress. You’d be doing yourself a professional disservice if you ignored these potentially prosperous relationships for the short-term desire to only network with “higher-ups.”

3. Support System

Ultimately, your peers are more likely to be able to understand what you’re going through in the present. Networking with colleagues at the same level can be a mutually beneficial professional relationship, even if it’s unlikely to result in tangible personal gain, like a promotion. Network with peers and create a support system in which you can be there to vent and listen to one another, offer job search tips, etc. Having a network of peers to share experiences with can keep everyone motivated to achieve their goals.

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