Networking for Success
Verb: To interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.
It’s often said, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’.
The people you meet today can become your single greatest resource for success tomorrow. No matter who you are or what your goals may be, there will always be someone, somewhere in a position to help you.
Thanks to the emergence of online networking, it's easier than ever to have virtual handshake with business professionals across the globe. Add in the growing number of seriously cool business networking events taking place and you have an abundance of contacts ready to add to your little black book.
Whether you're getting social or working the room, your focus as a job seeker should be about building relationships, and letting the world - politely and professionally - know you're there.
What's Hot About Networking?
- Raise your profile with the people in your business and your industry
- Get yourself known as an ambassador for your sector
- Expand your list of contacts who in turn could become useful for sharing information when needed
- Identify hidden opportunities and give you a head start over your competition.
If you're attending a business networking event, a few tips on maximising your visit
- Before you arrive at the event, ask the organiser for a list of who will be attending, including their line of business and company name. This way, you can prepare yourself by doing a little research online to see whether an opportunity looms.
- A general rule to follow is to dress as you, on a great day. You should also be mindful of any dress codes given to make sure you are appropriately dressed for the occasion.
- Introduce yourself to the organizer. They can then help point you in the right direction of the people on your hit-list and introduce you to other attendees to get you off on the right foot.
- Find the bar! Whether or not you’re drinking, it’s always a great idea to position yourself at the edge of the bar. Many people run for the bar when they get to a networking event in order to get a quick drinkie after a grand entrance. If you position yourself a few steps from the bar, you can easily strike up a conversation as people turn with drink in hand.
- It's far more valuable to make two or three quality contacts than collect thirty business cards. Don’t rush from person to person just introducing yourself and moving on, use your time wisely and spend time getting to know people and what they do.
- Make notes. If you are talking to someone who is providing a lot of useful information, don’t be afraid to write it down. Make the most of their business card and write down important points on them to remind you of what was said later.
- Invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn after the event. Follow them on Twitter. This way you can follow their updates and spot any opportunities arising within their business.
- If the event has a live social stream, get involved. Tweet your opinions about the event, share information with both attendees and non-attendees. Let the world know you're there and that you are digitally savvy.
Online networking allows you to connect with busines professionals on a global scale. The king of professional networking is LinkedIn, a great way to showcase your skills and experience to potential recruiters, and to generate contacts on a wider level.
Take a look at our tips for getting your LinkedIn profile up to scratch.
- Make use of search tools to find professionals in your section and in your area.
- Follow brands you'd love to work for to keep an eye on any opportunities that might suit you.
- Engage with brands. Comment on their posts, ask questions and interact so that they know you're there.
- If you have a way with words, use your blog to leverage your position of expertise online. Share blogs with relevant business professionals and online influencers that will widen your reach.
- Join groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to position yourself as an expert in your field.
- Search hashtags such as #Hiring #Recruitment #Sales #Retail #Manchester to find any current vacancies you might love.
- Follow recruitment agencies that specialise in your sector.
- Share content you've read online, with positive opinions to the author to showcase your understanding of the subject.
- Share your own work. A portfolio, a video , projects you've worked on or even shout outs to yourself on smashing team targets (leave out the financials and anything confidential)
- Ask for endorsements and recommendations. LinkedIn endoresements are a great way to build your online CV. Though think outside the box. Share great feedback on your blog, Twitter feed and Facebook profiles. Anywhere a potential employer might be looking.
- Update your social profiles to include your current job title and that you are currently seeking out new opportunities. You never know which of your contact might recommend you to another business.