An important aspect of networking is that it should never be confused with an attempt to gain undue advantages; this can damage relationships.We can simply reflect on our lives to understand the role of recommendations and networking in our daily decision making.
Be it a simple decision like buying a book to a complex one like an investment opportunity, we always take opinions of our trusted ones and usually their views and references greatly influence the final outcome Professional networking is no different. Companies will always be happy to call you for an interview if someone they trust like one of their best performing employees recommends you to them.
Professional Networking for Securing Job Openings:
Professional networking can come in handy for securing advertised jobs, too. In case you miss a job advertisement one of your professional contacts might inform you of the same. With a very competitive market and very few job opportunities, having a sound professional network is critical. It strengthens ones chances of getting connected to the right people at the right time, however, only competence will take you forward from there.
Extroverts have a natural flair when it comes to starting conversations and building contacts but that does not mean that people who generally shy away from the limelight can never have the right links in the professional world. It may take extra effort on their part, but some basic steps and tips can help them in getting there.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses i.e. what are you good at? – You may be naturally talented at convincing people (you should have a great future in sales & marketing) or you are good with numbers (finance is your forte). If you have a degree in your area of strength, all the better. If not, don’t worry, networking can still get you that job
- Make a decision about what you want in your career – Is there any particular company you want to work for? (multinational or a government organization?) Is there any particular position you want to work at? (regional sales manager of your area for example because you feel you can easily sell in your area).
- Join an online professional group/network related to your career – Participate in their discussions by asking questions and sharing your opinions, knowledge, and experience at suitable moments during discussions. Moreover, seminars/conferences, events, workshops are favorable options to network.
Ways to Network at an event
- Get to the event early. This way, you have the chance to talk to people one-on-one.
- While attending, talk to people you don’t know to maximize networking opportunities.
- Start with some casual conversation before talking about work. Find common ground with new people. Ask people about their interests outside of work (not for Job Fairs, where you can get to the point straight after introductions).
- Make it easy for people to help you i.e. if the topic of your employment status comes up and you have the opportunity to talk about your job search, state specifically what kind of job you are seeking, as well as the industry and any specific companies that interest you.
- If you are working, always carry your business cards with you and exchange them.
- Thank everyone in your network who has been helpful to you (through an email or a call/text).
- Keep on organizing your network contacts, whether on a spreadsheet, a binder, email or your phone.
Important Networking Don’ts
- Don’t be aggressive towards networking efforts.
- Don’t approach networking like a business deal. Workshops, conferences and job fairs are opportunities to meet people, to create likability and commonality; the two cornerstones of networking.
- Don’t ever mix your personal problems and bad experiences in networking. People may remember you, but not for the right reasons.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are flattered to be asked for assistance and advice with your job search. Networking is about creating mutually beneficial relationships, helping others, meeting a wide variety of interesting people and creating solid, long-term relationships. It should never be used for short term gains.
- Don‘t expect instant results from your contacts. Be patient, as it takes a while before people are comfortable enough to offer you a referral.
Now that you know everything there is to know about professional networking, just be confident and start doing it. If you have any questions or comments, do let us know in the comments box below. Also, if you have found professional networking to be of advantage in your career, we will be very interested in hearing your success story. Keep following Mobilink Careers!