Networking isn’t a priority for most people, it can be time-consuming and occasionally awkward for some, however, the power of strong professional network can help you succeed in your career.
Helping you land a job faster or giving you a competitive edge throughout your career stages. Networking done right, can be a highly valuable tool in opening doors to new opportunities.
Networking isn’t purely an exchange of information or requesting for favours. According to the public relations team at Adoni Media, networking is establishing and creating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with people you meet. When you invest time into your relationships, whether that’s professional or personal, it can help you in your career.
Networking can help you develop and improve your communication skills, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients as well as gain access to the necessary resources that will assist your career development.
If you’re wanting to build your networks, here are a list of what to do and not do at your next networking opportunity:
• Be confident and comfortable with your value
Understand your strengths and own it!
• Be yourself
People can often identify when a person is trying to act as another person. Just be yourself and show your personality.
• Make effort to meet and socialise with other professionals
If you’re attending a networking event, make sure put the effort in and say hi to other professionals. Sometimes people would attend a networking night to have only spend the night catching up with people they’ve already known.
• Be discerning
Your opinion is always valuable. So, add your opinion into the conversation.
• Be flexible
Don’t go to a networking event with the same elevator pitch every time. Understand the potential professionals that will be there and find relatable topics to start a conversation.
• Follow up with a new contact as soon as you can
If you’ve made a new contact and connected with them on LinkedIn it’s important to follow up so you stay in the front of their mind. Maybe organise a coffee catch up a few weeks later? Or send them an email asking them for some advice.
• Make it all about yourself
You’ll learn a lot about the other person when you simply listen for a while.
• Expect a job
Don’t go attending a networking event expecting to score yourself the next job that they have vacant. Although, it might be a good way to get your foot in the door for an interview.
• Be afraid to ask questions
Ask questions that will give you advice on how you can potentially get your foot into that industry or how they got about to excelling in their career. This will allow you to understand what you need to do to become a competitive applicant for the next job you apply for.
• Think it’s just a number’s game
Never judge the success of your network by the numbers. Quality over quantity, is what matters.
• Forget to say thank you
It’s important to always thank them for their time.