Although qualifications and skills are essential for any job search, they are not the only requirements. Networking is also important for career development. In order to succeed in your chosen career, you must actively devote time to regular professional networking.
In today's interconnected world, no professional who cares about his career development can operate within a bubble. Networking helps you to stay in touch with other people working in your industry, and as a result, it could help you stay up to date with the latest industry standards and best practices. It can also help you to develop connections that you could use to get a recommendation for a job, or hear about the best employment opportunities as soon as they open up.
Two types of networking are important for career development. First, you need to make an effort to get to know your coworkers, a category that includes both the people who sit beside you in the office and others in the organization. Interacting with all these individuals helps you understand how the organization works as a whole, as well as fostering productive working relationships and building vital connections that you might rely on during your next job search.
In addition to networking within your organization, you also need to make an effort to meet and get to know others working for other companies in your industry. You can meet these people by attending networking events and trade shows or by joining a professional association. Meeting other professionals gives you an insight into how competing organizations compare to the company that you work for, and it also gives you a broader picture of the entire industry. Both of these effects are vital for your career development, as they open your eyes to the opportunities that are available to you if you decide to leave your current organization.
Accounting professionals can get in touch with each other by joining the American Institute of Chartered Public Accountants (or AICPA), the American Accounting Association or the National Society of Accountants. These organizations provide networking opportunities, as well as access to accounting publications and other useful resources, and advocacy in case of a dispute with an employer or client. You could even find an accounting mentor through one of these organizations to help further your career development.
The best way to think of networking is to consider it as an investment in your career. The more effort you put into getting to know other professionals working in your industry, the greater the returns you enjoy. To further your career development, jump on all the networking opportunities that present themselves, including attending professional events, gaining membership in industry associations and getting to know others within your organization.
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