How much time do you invest in networking?
For some people, it carries a negative connotation – aggressive, salesy and superficial. This is often rooted in a bad experience or misunderstanding about how it should work; but truth is, effective networking is a worthwhile investment that can pay off throughout the course of your entire career.
Networking can take many forms, from intimate meetups to industry-wide conferences and across social media. It presents an opportunity to cultivate productive relationships, and offers loads of other benefits regardless of where you’re currently at in your career.
Develop your career: According to data from LinkedIn, nearly 80 percent of professionals consider networking to be important to career success. Networking gives you the chance to meet prospective mentors, gain access to valuable resources as well as showcase your own skills and experience. Whether you’re actively job hunting or not, it’s a great way to seek career advice and stay up-to-date with the current job market.
Build genuine, meaningful relationships: Invest time in getting to know other professionals both inside and outside of your industry, beyond swapping business cards. Engaging in deeper conversation with people from different backgrounds will broaden your perspective, and it’s a great way to develop your soft skills too.
Learn, and learn some more: Networking events are great learning environments. Whether it’s learning a new skill at a workshop or keeping a pulse on the latest trends in your industry, you will always walk away with some form of new knowledge. It’s also an opportunity bounce ideas off peers and learn from the wins and mistakes of others by sharing challenges and achievements.
Best Practices for Effective Networking
Set a goal: Think about what you would like to get out of each networking event. You may want to learn about a new strategy to implement in your team, or perhaps it’s as simple as aiming to make two new valuable contacts. Having a goal in mind will ensure you make the most of each opportunity.
Find what works for you: The great thing about networking is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Try a variety of different networking styles to help determine which format and topics are best suited to your career goals.
Follow up: When you make a new connection, be sure to follow up with a quick message or connect on social media. You’ve made a great connection, so it’s important to stay in touch!
If you’re looking to invest in your career development, then networking is a great place to start! Just keep in mind that the amount of time and effort that you put in to networking will influence what you get in return. If you’d like to attend one of our exclusive Tech or Digital Meet Ups, get in touch for the latest ‘Hanover Hosts’ event updates.