If you’ve been feeling discouraged as of late, it might be time to dust off your old résumé and make some networking events. It’s important to remember that even if you’re not looking for a new job, networking events can help you form relationships with people who may come in handy later down the line – the more people you interact within your industry, the more opportunities will pop up.

So why do you need to head out to a new industry event? Based on the simple mantra of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” here are three reasons why networking events might be your ticket to the next step in your professional career.

Networking Events Can Help You Find a New Job

The one thing that most people forget about networking is that it isn’t just about meeting potential employers; it is also about meeting potential employees.

In fact, according to a Time article from March 2005, networking is the single best way to find a new job. The article also states that you can even find a new position within six months by increasing the number of contacts you make with employers.

Why? The simple answer is that networking is one of the best ways to find out about an opening before it’s even posted. Once you start to make connections with people in your industry, they will inevitably share information with you that they may not even realize will be useful. From there, it’s just a matter of making a list of places you’d like to work and seeing if any match up with what your contacts have told you.

Networking Events Can Help You Develop Your Skills

While you can’t expect to find a mentor at a networking event, you can always expect to be able to put your skills to the test.

Yes, there are times when you may feel under pressure to work on something that doesn’t matter a whole lot to anyone but you, but if you don’t take the opportunity to get out and meet new people and test your business acumen, it could be years before someone gives you a chance.

Networking Events Can Help You Develop Your Brand

You may not think about it, but your appearance and how you present yourself at networking events can also help build your brand. Remember, you are representing your company even if you aren’t working for them currently.

In the same vein, there’s a chance that people will approach you to do business with their companies, especially if they are impressed with what they see. You could even be approached to work for a company completely independent of the organization you are currently working for.

You never know what will happen once you get off your couch and start networking.

In conclusion, If you are serious about finding a new job or want to develop your skills, you need to start attending networking events to help you achieve your goals. There’s no time to waste, so make a list of all the networking events in your area and start exploring all these opportunities waiting for you!