Networking: where, how and what?
Networking is important whether you’re employed or unemployed. Networking is about creating your social and professional network – it’s your opportunity to make new connections on the labour market.
Here are our tips for successful networking.
Where to network?
Network at your workplace:
- If you have the opportunity, join a business group at work that organises social events or participate in a seminar – this is a great way to meet new people and potential business partners.
Participate in official networking events:
- Career or business days within your professional field could be of value even if you are employed. Perhaps there are open house events in your local area, where you can meet new people and learn something new about your area of expertise.
- LinkedIn is an easy way to find new business connections. It enables you to network from home and gives you access to almost any company. You can also keep yourself updated on the latest company news and job positions.
- When you find someone that you would like to connect with, it’s a good idea to send them a message on LinkedIn to explain why he or she should connect with you.
- Another way to network is to find a group on LinkedIn where you can participate in group discussions and share experiences. In this way, you will not only connect with new people. You will also get new ideas and insights that can be relevant to you professionally.
How to network?
Do your research:
- Target the organisations that are right for you. What do you seek, and what does the organisation offer? Is it a match geographically, the right sector etc.?
- First impressions are important. Make sure you smile and look the person you are speaking to in the eye. Always speak confidently and make sure the person can hear you.
If you already have a job:
- Introduce the business you work for, tell them what you do and what your strengths are. Maybe this person is a future business partner.
If you are unemployed:
- Tell them who you are, what your strengths are, what you want to do, and what you can offer in a particular job.
At all times, remember:
- Be humble and positive – this way you will give a good impression of yourself.
- Be curious and ask questions that show you are well prepared.
- Make sure you are remembered – give them your business card, exchange phone numbers or add them on LinkedIn.
What to do after networking?
The most important part of networking happens afterwards. Now it’s time to follow up with the people you have talked to.
- It’s always a good idea to add the people you have talked to on LinkedIn. This way they will remember you, and they will always be able to contact you.
- If you discussed having a meeting with someone, make sure you get in touch – don’t just wait for the other person to call you.
- Another way to follow up is to contact the people you have talked to by sending them an e-mail and perhaps invite them for coffee if you think you can benefit from each other by exchanging ideas and experiences or even establishing a new cooperation.