When the word “networking” is mentioned, what springs to mind?
For me what instantly springs to mind is attending a meeting with lots of people associating it with awkwardness, cheesy events and where you have to “sell” yourself using an elevator pitch.
However, networking doesn’t have to be this way. Networking can be completed on a 1-2-1 basis and is very much about building long-term relationships as well as a good reputation over time. It focuses on finding people who you can assist and who can potentially help you in return. It can mean the difference between a mediocre career and a phenomenal career.
How can networking help your career (whether seeking a career or just wanting to widen your support)?
1.Strengthening your business connections
Regularly engaging with your connections, and indeed finding opportunities to support them, will help strengthen the relationship you have and may lead to assistance from them when you need to.
2.Get fresh ideas or support
Discussing common challenges or opportunities will give you an insight into a new sector or role before you actually make the move.
3.Raise your profile
Raising your profile within professional circles will help you stand out to recruiters and you may get more offers as a result.
4.Get access to job opportunities
Active networking will keep you at the forefront of people’s minds and increases the likelihood of receiving introductions to people who could help you or indeed a referral for a role.
5.Gain more knowledge
The opportunity to gain new knowledge as a result of networking is an area which is often forgotten. Your network connection may be able to assist you with developments or techniques and offer new angles you hadn’t previously considered.
Part of finding a new role is being confident to put yourself out there and showing others why you. Networking encourages you to step outside your comfort zone and you develop social skills and self-confidence that you can use elsewhere which will help you to make lasting relationships.
7.Gain a different perspective
Asking for insights from contacts you admire will help you to see things in a different light and overcome any roadblocks that are currently stopping you.
8.Develop long-lasting relationships
The benefit of networking is to develop and nurture long lasting relationships not necessarily for the benefit of finding a new role but also to help grow people around you who can champion you.
9.Get an answer to every question
Having someone as a sounding board and help you bounce ideas off will let you put things into action step-by-step. As the saying goes “sharing is caring”.
10.Find a job you love
You never know who is hiring for a role or might know someone who is hiring for a role and the more people you have in your network the likelier you are to be the first one to hear about an opportunity.
So how do you start networking?
The thought of starting a conversation with a stranger might fill you with dread but don’t worry if you follow these tips it will help you to overcome these concerns and master your networking skills.
In conclusion, network should part of your career toolkit and will help you stand out from the crowd.
#networking #careerpathway #careertips
Kathryn Hall "The Career Owl" helps you to explore your career options, whether you are seeking to enter the world of work for the first time, seeking a career change or returning back to work from a career break.