Hint: it’s not just about “dressing for the job you want”.
Networking has come a long way from its knee-length-skirts-and-court-shoes image – and it could be your ticket to career success, because these days, it’s not just about who you know, it’s also about who knows you.
“Building a strong network can help you learn new skills or information, discover ideas and find out how to do things better in your organisation,” explains Karen Adamedes, career specialist and author of Hot Tips for Career Chicks. Not to mention, the more people who know about you and your specialties, the more they might think of your name when they’re looking for someone to fill a juicy role. Promotions and/or job opportunities? Yes, please!
But forget sweaty handshakes and awkward small talk at corporate events. These days, networking can take many forms. Just ask social media specialist Hannah DeMilta, who advocates the idea of “networking as a lifestyle”. From your Instagram feed, to that friend of a friend who’s working in that hot sector you’ve always been interested in, “It’s something that touches everything we do,” she explains.
“The people we meet tomorrow could end up being valuable connections later down the track.”
Do invest some time in building your network
Sorry introverts, but there’s no opting out of this one. Karen says, “It’s not a discretionary activity if you want to develop your career or be good at your job.”
Do your research
Get online to find events that are right for your industry. Think out of the box. Heard that all the creatives in the city haunt a particular reading club? Time to sign up.
Do follow up after an event
This classic piece of advice still holds true. Connecting via e-mail, LinkedIn or Twitter will bolster the other person’s impression of you, helping you to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t just focus on the number of people you meet or the number of business cards you collect
This tactic can appear shallow, and is easy to see through. No one wants to feel like just another name on the list.
Don’t rely solely on online networking
Face-to-face is important too. Hannah says, “Embrace both for the best result.”
Don’t know anyone at an event?
Find the organiser/s and let them know. “If they’re a good host, they’ll introduce you to others in the room,” explains Hannah.