Networking is a proactive way to take control of developing your career.
Networking is one of the most important activities you will need to undertake to proactively manage your career. Your ability to access people, information and resources may well have been key tasks in a previous role, regardless, you now need to leverage these skills to maximise your return on investment in your career planning.
Who can I network with? The answer to this is everyone! However, there are some obvious groups to start with:
- Contacts through professional associations
- Education contacts through alumni, tutors, previous trainers
- Contacts through family, friends, neighbours, sporting groups,
- community groups
- Anyone that you happen to meet e.g. parties, sporting events
Ideally face to face networking is preferable as the most authentic and genuine connections are made in person. However, in this Covid19 world face to face interaction is now not a possibility in the short term. LinkedIn is an excellent networking platform, however, it is imperative that your LinkedIn profile is up to date before you launch into linking in with potential employers. You need this interaction to be positive, you want to capture the attention of the person you are trying to connect with so make a good impression from the outset. You can also use your professional memberships, alumni and tutors for networking opportunities. Do not be afraid to ask for an introduction, most professionals are happy to help, remember they will have been in your shoes at some stage in their career.
What will I say?
Networking begins with a conversation so start it as you would any conversation, an introduction and how are you? is a good place to begin. It is ideal that you will have done some research on this person before engaging with them so you should know their industry, company and if there have been any significant announcements relative to them recently e.g. promotion, hiring announcements, investments. Prior to your conversation decide what is your key message and what are you hoping to get out of this interaction? Keep the tone of the conversation positive and professional, remember this person may not be able to help you right now but connections can last throughout your career.
It takes courage to be proactive about networking and demonstrates traits such as motivation, ambition and resilience so give some thought to your networking strategy and be brave!
If you would like support with your career planning please contact Niamh Mullen, MSc Career Guidance, Permanent Recruitment Division Manager at Clark, niamh@Clark.ie or call us on 045 881888.