Networking is getting to know people who can help you to develop your career prospects.
It is absolutely something that anyone who is at all serious about their career should be doing. Networking should include a wide range of people, from those who may be directly involved with recruitment, to those who work in your industry of choice and can provide you with personal insights, and those who may simply be able to advise you on how to put together an excellent CV or application form.
I have both reached out to people, particularly when I was initially developing my business, and been reached out to by others. Initially I found it quite difficult to network, especially if I was asking for advice and assistance. However, I now realise that the majority of people are very happy to help if they can and I am very happy to help those who approach me.
Using email and social media platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to start networking but nothing beats getting out there and meeting people face to face. Those who are really professional at networking will keep good records of those they connect with and will also stay in touch on a regular basis. Here are some top tips for getting the most out of networking.
- Don’t ask everyone you meet for a job! Use networking to gather as much useful information as possible.
- Give and take – networking is a two-way relationship.
- Aim to get someone's contact details rather than just giving them yours; you can then take responsibility for following up.
- Follow up and always thank someone for their time or support.
- Be patient – it will take more than one meeting or one email to uncover the help or opportunity you are looking for.