Why In-Person Networking Is Crucial At Every Career Stage

Networking is valuable for all, from job-seeking students to senior executives, and entrepreneurs. Learn how networking can change your life!

Makena Marshall

May 30th, 2024

Man speaking in front of networking event.

Many young professionals feel a wave of anxiety or roll their eyes when the topic of in-person networking comes up. They might undercut the importance of networking, thinking their talent and education are enough to speak for themselves. Senior employees with established careers may think they are above networking and don’t need to put themselves out there beyond their current network. The impact of attending in-person networking events goes far beyond job-seeking for newcomers. Anybody who frequents networking events will encounter professionals at various career stages, from students searching for their first job, senior professionals looking to expand their network, founders eager to share their new start-up ideas, to consultants searching for new clients. 


If you’re lucky to live in business-savvy cities like San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver, networking events are plentiful, and you’ll have no issue filling up your calendar. In-person networking events are a bigger commitment than virtual events, but the payoff is often higher. The chance of creating a genuine connection with someone is much higher in person than over the computer, but if don’t live in a big city in-person events can be hard to find. Digital panels and workshops can be great educational events!


If you’re feeling anxious about attending an in-person networking event or need a reminder of the power of networking, here’s a list of benefits that will help you push beyond your comfort zone and get out there!

Networking in Early Career 

  1. Career Opportunities: In today’s competitive job market, references are incredibly valuable. If you do not have family connections or friends already in the industry, networking events can be a great place to meet new people and create relationships. Professionals are more likely to refer someone if they know them personally and can testify to their character. You might even hit it off with a start-up founder looking for employees.
  2. Career Advice and Mentorship: Meet a working professional and ask them for feedback on your resume or portfolio! Listen to others’ stories to learn about the different pathways to success and avoid common career mistakes.
  3. Emotional Support System: Job-seeking and being a beginner is hard. Creating a network of friends within the same industry is certain to help you through hard times. In the thick of applying for jobs, it often feels like you’re alone and no one is looking out for you. Networking with others will help you realize how common your situation is. 
Networking in Mid-Career

  1. Improving Communication Skills: As professionals move into more advanced roles, communication across teams and with management becomes increasingly important. Networking events can help you build the soft skills needed to interact with various types of professionals. 
  2. Boosting Confidence: If you’re ever having doubts about making career moves or you’re succumbing to a period of imposter syndrome, networking with others can give you the confidence to fight for that raise or apply for the senior role. It’s important to build confidence through successful networking experiences and professional interactions. 
Networking in Late Career

  1. Problem Solving: Depending on the event you attend, many high-achieving executives and founders will be mingling and expanding their networks. Use your network to address high-level strategic issues and gain diverse perspectives.
  2. Staying informed on trends: As the world continues to evolve, business practices do as well. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and only use tricks that have worked in the past. Attending networking events will help you stay updated on industry advancements, emerging technologies, and best practices.
  3. Access to resources: Utilize your network to access funding, resources, or expertise for research projects. You might even find your next intern. 

Networking benefits everyone at every career stage, including entrepreneurs and founders. Regular interactions with industry peers can help establish your credibility and reputation as an expert in your field. Networking also helps you build and maintain your personal brand, making you more visible in your industry. Your city may seem smaller than you originally thought, but after multiple networking events faces will become familiar, and you’ll be a name people recognize. 


It may be nerve-wracking to attend a networking event, but remember the benefits and know their payoff will be way bigger than the initial setbacks. Other tricks to help overcome networking anxiety, try preparing a few questions in advance, attending with a friend, and being kind to yourself—remember, just showing up is a significant first step. Choose a networking event that suits your personality—whether you prefer a morning coffee meet-up or an after-work gathering over a cool beer. And remember the classic icebreaker question, ‘What brings you here?’ is always a great way to start a conversation.


There are various types of networking events you can attend, each offering unique benefits. Large industry conferences offer great opportunities to learn about the latest trends, technologies, and innovations shaping your industry. You can engage directly with founders and discover how new start-ups are making an impact. Workshops and panel events are perfect for asking challenging questions to industry leaders—everyone started somewhere. Additionally, many events are more casual, such as happy hours and social gatherings, designed to connect people and foster conversations. These events are important for creating personal connections within your industry, and you might even enjoy a free beer! 


Start by finding events that suit your linking, build a community of connections in your city, and push beyond your comfort zone, you never know what might happen! Networking has the power to change your career in unimaginable ways, don’t let your fears get in the way!


Want to learn more about how Common can enhance your networking experience and make connecting with others even easier?