Looking to grow your network? In competitive industries, it’s sometimes not enough to have valued skills in order to quickly advance in your career. There are times when you will have to leverage the age-old phrase “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know” to identify and seize opportunities.
Nowadays, there are a range of ways to meet new people, such as job fairs!
If you are starting out in your career, here are 4 tips on how to properly network, whether it is through informal or formal mediums.
1. Tailor your introduction
One of the most common ways of networking is through meeting people at industry events, be they intimate seminars or expansive conferences. If you are invited to one, find out more on whom is attending by reading about them or looking at their LinkedIn. Not only will this make it easier to approach them, it will also allow you to tailor your introduction of yourself to accommodate their interests and expertise. Keep in mind not to turn your introduction into a pitch; these opportunities are about building relationships before they can be leveraged into business prospects.
"Having a curated network of contacts, friends or acquaintances alike, can only be a good thing when navigating through careers; the mutual exchange of information and prospects is a timeless business manoeuvre used by the best of professionals."
2. Research and Education
It is rare that someone will see professional value in you if you are unable to contribute to industry-specific conversations. To avoid this, read about, research, listen to and engage with the market. Magazines, newspapers, podcasts and social media are great ways to keep yourself informed on the industry. This is beneficial for making sure you are aware of trends, key figures, movers & changers and notable successes/failures in the business. You can additionally leverage LinkedIn to comment on press posts to increase the exposure of your name – just be aware to keep your published thoughts reasonable and articulated.
3. Identify people on your level
If you’re new to an industry, seek out other beginners and form a relationship with them to keep each other updated on opportunities and other events. Having a peer on the same level as you can be a great way of bouncing ideas off each other and learning from each other’s mistakes and achievements.
4. Network with everyone
That being said, never pass up on an opportunity to network with other kinds of people. Don’t ignore the chance to connect with someone new, even if they don’t appear related to the industry in which you’re working. Take stock of unorthodox ways to meet new people - ask your family and friends if they know anyone – and don’t be too proud to reach out to old school and university friends for updates on their life.
Next time you have a networking event, be sure to keep our tips in mind!