How Networking can improve your personal job prospects
Struggling to find a job or stuck in a career rut? Can’t decide on the next best step? Networking is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry, meet new people and boost your career.
Here’s our guide on how networking can benefit you professionally:
What is networking?
Networking is the process of meeting and connecting with new people and building relationships in order to help others in business and more importantly, aid your own professional development.
How do I go about networking?
The first thing to do before you go about networking is to identify who is in your existing network. You may be surprised to know that family members and friends count as part of your existing network and can be valuable members. Networking is all about who you know so include people you went to school or university with, former colleagues, and neighbours even if they don’t seem immediately relevant.
Compile a list of all of these people, (it might take a while!) and then use your social media accounts to go through and take down as many contact details as you can. You never know who these people may know and how useful they could be to you.
Once you have established an initial list of connections, it’s time to consider what it is you want to achieve from networking, are you looking for your first job, wanting to break into a new industry or do you simply want to look for a new job?
How can the people on your list could be useful to you? It may be that your former roommate’s dad works in the industry you want to get into, or your cousin’s girlfriend has started working for a company that you are interested in – it’s all useful.
How to find new people to network with
You should always be looking to expand your network, the more people you know the more useful it is. One of the best ways to make new connections is to build a profile on an online networking platform such as LinkedIn or engage in online discussions on social media sites like Twitter. Networking online is a brilliant way to keep on top of all the latest industry news, events and job vacancies so you’re always one step ahead.
Attending networking events is also a fantastic way to meet new people and make new connections. Talk to as many people as you can, be engaging, take and give out business cards and don’t be afraid to ask for people’s advice.
How to find networking events
A good way to find networking events is on online forums or social media platforms, or even just searching online for industry specific events near you. Once you’ve been to one and have made a few connections, you can begin to utilise them to find out about future networking events.
If you’re looking to engage in more regular networking and establish a stronger close-knit network, it may be a good idea to sign up to an organisation such as BNI or the Chamber of Commerce who hold networking meetings on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
How can networking help my personal job prospects?
Networking can vastly improve your personal career prospects and make it easier to find potential job opportunities. By making contacts and building a good sense of rapport with people in the industry, you’re already giving yourself a head start when it comes to landing a new job.
Not only will you be the first to find out about new job vacancies as they come up, but by having an established network within the industry you’re more likely to be recommended for roles. Networking also gives you the opportunity to build a positive reputation for yourself which will be attractive to potential employers.
On a more personal level, networking is a brilliant way to become more industry savvy and develop your communication skills. Practising speaking to new people, introducing yourself and talking about what you do, as well as making phone calls and sending emails to people you’ve just met can all help to improve your confidence to go forward and make your next career move.