The word ‘networking’ is something which you are likely to hear on a regular basis. It is also something which can aid your career development if you participate in it on a regular basis.
There are more opportunities to network than you may think. It would be wrong to assume that networking events are the be-all and end-all. Networking can be carried out on platforms such as LinkedIn, on social media platforms, and in the most unsuspecting places. The fact that LinkedIn offer a global service allows communication to be easy. Sifting through clunky human resource systems isn’t required when you can contact a managing director directly through their LinkedIn profile. You never know where a conversation may lead. Securing an unofficial internship through networking isn’t unheard of either. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
People often assume that you have to be the bravest person on earth to attend a networking event, but really, you don’t. Everyone will be in the same boat and people will be keen to talk to you. Pathfinder offer industry-relevant Meetups, providing a prime opportunity to find out more about sectors and more importantly, a chance to get your foot in the door.
Networking isn’t just about opportunities and getting your foot in the door though, it can also provide you with fundamental advice and insights. Talking to someone who already works in your potential or chosen industry can save you a lot of time. It’s hard to know what an industry is actually like if you’ve only read about it in the paper. Communicating with someone who currently works in the industry may pique or even diminish your interest.
As a result of networking you will also be able to take advantage of the opportunity to increase your confidence. Although conversations may seem tricky at first, the more practice you have the more natural and prolonged they will become, enabling you to build connections with people whom you have never met before.
Along with building connections, networking also provides two-way satisfaction. Knowing that you have helped someone can lead to great self-fulfilment and even future opportunities. For example, if you have provided someone with a solution to a problem in the past, there is a chance they may reach out to you in the future, thanking you in a similar way.
Building a profile of yourself, another important part for your career development can also be handed to you through networking. The more people you meet, the more likely your face will become known, positively influencing your reputation as an individual. People will start to see you as an approachable, reliable person they can turn to and from this, you may see yourself acquiring more referrals.
Not only can networking fuel your career development though, it can also form friendships. If you are networking with people who are looking to work or currently work in the same industry as you, the chances are you will have things in common. These can give rise to opportunities to meet up if you have networked online, or alternatively meet up a second time if you have networked in person.
Author: Jamie Hewitt