Getting a job can be a major challenge. Especially in a job market where a vast majority of job openings are never advertised or publicly announced, but filled through word-of-mouth or networking.
Many people emphasise the importance of networking, but what is networking on how do you do it? Networking means developing a broad list of contacts — people you’ve met through various social and business functions — and using them to your advantage when you look for a new job.
Depending on your function, it might be easier for you to network with colleagues or form contacts in other businesses. However, for more isolated professions networking may be more challenging.
“The best way to start developing your network is through conventional, face to face networking. The more people you know and the more they know about you and what you do,” says Özlem Simsek, Director of Walters People Belgium.
Consider doing some or all of the following tips to network your way to a new job.
Start at the workplace
“When most people think of face-to-face networking, they think about connection with people outside their workplaces, at social events and business functions.Networking at work is however an important component of success which should not be overlooked.”
A good place to start is to consider your role and how you fit into your organisation. What is the scope of your job and where might you have the potential to make professional connections? The size and structure of the company will play a main factor.
Ask yourself the following questions: Who do I work with most? Which teams/ individuals would I get value out of working with? Who do I not know much about?
Reach out to your co-workers through team building exercises, company sports teams and social events. The more you make yourself involved, the easier networking will become.
Join business networking groups
Take a look at your local business network clubs and trade groups in your niche. Many professional associations lend themselves to knowledge and expertise sharing and tend to run regular events which you can attend, often free of charge.
Meeting professionals outside of your organisation can be a fantastic avenue for staying abreast of trends and meeting key influencers within the field.
Alumni associations offer another way to make professional connections. Make contact with your graduate or alumni groups as a great way to stay connected to the greater industry.
Look to networking as an investment
The more time and effort you put into your network, the better returns you can expect to see. While it may seem tricky to begin with, remember that other professionals are there for the same reason.
Important opportunities can present themselves at unexpected times. Open yourself up to professional exchanges and you will find more opportunities for career advancement.
Start networking now and connect with Walters People on LinkedIn.