‘Never underestimate the power of networking!’
How often have we all heard this? While we might like to think that job success after graduating boils down to good grades and strong skills, knowing how to leverage opportunities through networking can be a game changer.
So, what’s all the fuss around networking? The truth is that no matter what industry you aspire to break into, networking helps. Networking establishes you within your chosen industry, and it can help you score your dream job, or even just secure a great graduate entry position. Your network includes everyone from friends and family, to work colleagues and members of groups to which you belong.
Importantly, effective networking is all about building relationships – it involves meeting and getting to know people. While you might think networking is all about helping you reach your goals, ultimately networking is about sharing. It’s about forming trust and identifying how you can assist others and who can potentially help you in return.
So, how do you go about building your networks? Here are some top tips:
- Practice your ‘elevator pitch’ It’s essential that you’re able to describe yourself succinctly and confidently. This is your ‘elevator pitch.’ It should only be 20-30 seconds as you may not have a lot of time with each person you meet at an event.
- Build rapport While it might feel a bit scary striking up conversation with a complete stranger at an event, it might lead to the start of a great connection. Be genuine, listen to what others have to say and ask questions. Generally people love to talk about themselves!
- Be active on LinkedIn Networking extends to online now more than ever. Consider LinkedIn your social media platform for your professional life.
- Nurture your network As you grow your professional contacts, it’s important to invest time to periodically reach out to help strengthen your ties. This could be as simple as commenting on a contact’s LinkedIn post, or reaching out for a coffee catch up.
- Raise your profile Try to be as involved in your industry as possible. This as a way of getting noticed and being remembered for all the right reasons.