Making the most of networking opportunities can be a great way of developing your career, regardless of your career stage or position. However you feel about networking, chances are you meet and interact with people every day. Are you making the most of those interactions? How can you build your network and develop your career? What opportunities should you be looking for? Although not all opportunities will suit everyone, here are three suggestions you might like to consider.
Attending industry events
Industry events are a key opportunity to meet people connected with your industry or, if you’re making a change, to connect with people in a new industry. Attending these events regularly can be a good way to maintain contact with people you might otherwise only see occasionally. It’s also a good way to make new contacts and meet people new to the industry. There are often a range of events at different times and with different styles throughout the year, so choose what works best for you. Be bold in introducing yourself or asking for an introduction. Have your elevator pitch ready and business cards to hand. Take an interest in others and look for what you have in common. Most importantly, make sure you follow up with any new connections after the event if you want them to become a valuable part of your network.
Meeting with recruiters
If you are looking to make a move or are just curious about what might be out there, talk to a recruiter. As people who place professionals in dream jobs, we know what’s happening in the job market. We also frequently speak with employers about what they are looking for, and what skills and experience are in demand. Our broad knowledge and extensive professional networks mean that we can identify current opportunities that might suit you, keep you informed about upcoming opportunities and perhaps even suggest some opportunities you may not have considered yet.
Networking online and offline
Effective networking is often a mix of online and offline interaction. It’s all about keeping in touch and making meaningful connections. So find a balance that works for you and your network, and be alert to organic opportunities in the online and offline spaces you are part of. Look for ways to add value in your interactions on social media. Take time to catch up in person with key connections or those you want to develop further. Make an introduction or connect someone with an opportunity. Try to develop a range of connections in your network. You never know who might call on your expertise or connections in the future or whose insights, skills or experience you might need. Therefore, developing a diverse network is a good idea and connecting both online and offline can help that.
Once you find the options that work best for you, make the most of those opportunities. However, always be on the lookout for new opportunities you can add to the mix. Networking well can put you in a strong position to develop your career and it is never too late to start. What opportunities will you take this week?