“It’s not about what you know — it’s about who you know.”
You may not realise it but you’re networking every day, in the classroom, in the office, when you are out with friends, and on-line, but how can you make your professional networking more successful?
Networking is a powerful tool for everyone - whether you are seeking to explore research or collaborative funding opportunities; develop or change your career; or expand your client or customer base – networking works!
The Networking for Success workshop held at Griffith College in May saw over thirty academics come together to discover how to network effectively and identify strategic networking avenues suited to their requirements.
"This workshop offered me insight into how to network successfully, and an opportunity to network at the event. I already have a work opportunity as a result of the evening… you cannot get more success than that in my mind!"
This workshop, arranged by the Faculty of Education and Training at Griffith College, marked the successful validation of the MA in Education and Training postgraduate programme, which will launch in September 2014.
Below, we share a few helpful hints to start you on the road to successful networking.
KEY NETWORKING TIPS
Everyone has to start somewhere – we all remember the people who took the time to support and advise us when we first started work. Networking isn’t just about your own career progression but passing on your own knowledge to others.
- Any conversation can potentially be an opportunity to network: don’t miss the opportunity to ask questions and share your story
- Combine online tools (LinkedIn, Facebook etc.) with the traditional personal approach (networking groups or workshops)
- Prepare a short introduction about yourself and skills that you can share with existing and new contacts
- Reach out to everyone you know and tell them what you are looking for (exploring career options, searching for a job)
- Reach out to new contacts to introduce yourself personally and ask if they would be prepared to talk to you about their career journey
- Ask questions: what advice can they give you on career ideas, referrals and contacts? Don’t ask for a job. Ask if they know of anyone else you can contact.
- Be a good listener and get to know your new contacts: Networking isn’t about selling but developing relationships that can lead to referrals and new opportunities.
- What have you got to offer? Try to provide your networking contacts with something that’s useful to them (information, advice or a referral)
- Keep in touch: follow their advice, keep them up-to-date with your progress, and remember to send a thank you message!
- Be proactive: continue to network regularly and keep it alive. Successful networking leads to stronger professional relationships, better access to insider information, and increased access to experiences and opportunities that exceed your expectations.
With a little practice and perseverance, networking can help you connect with important people and positions much more effectively, and stand out in an increasingly crowded job market.
Blogger: Lydia Casey