What is networking?
Networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or interests, usually in a social setting. The aim of networking is to build strong, long-lasting relationships. A good networker invests time into getting to know people. The more you put in, the more you will gain from your connections/contacts.
Why is networking important?
- Networking helps you gain new information and a new perspective which can help you in your studies and career. Through the exchange of information, you will gain new insights.
- Networking helps raise your profile and helps you get noticed which can really benefit your career. Regularly attending professional and social events will help to get your face known. Its important for people to know who you are, what you do and why you are passionate about it.
- Expanding your network can open doors to new opportunities for your career, business and personal development. Actively networking will keep you in the mind of your contacts/connections when new opportunities arise and increase your chances of being considered and referred.
- Having a large network means having access to new information, a wealth of experience and new ways of doing things.
- Networking is great when you need advice or mentorship. People in your network can provide you with this.
Where to network
- Go to networking events – introduce yourself to people and explain who you are and what you do. Its important that you also ask them these questions too and start a conversation. At the end of the conversation, ask how you can stay in contact.
- LinkedIn- set up an account and connect with people in your field but make sure you are sending messages with your requests. Explain who you are, what you do and why you would like to have them as part of your network.
- At work – go to work socials and get to know people in different departments. You can also network with senior members of staff and those at your level. Findout about their backgrounds and build a relationship with them where you can seek advice and possibly even mentorship from a senior member.
- Family and friends – the best way to start grwoing your network is within your close circles of family and friends. Findout if there is anyone who has similar interests or career aspirations to you and add them to your network. You can also ask to be introduced to someone who your family or friends know but make sure you make their time worth while by planning how you want the interaction to go.
How to network
- Be confident
- Make sure you are not only talking but you are listening as well
- Introduce yourself – who you are, what you do and where you work
- Ask questions -about their career, their background and aspirations
- Always make sure you ask how to stay in contact – LinkedIn, email or phone number
- Give a firm handshake
- Do not feel intimidated even if you have less experience
- Be enthusiastic and friendly
- Ask about interests and hobbies too
We hope this helps!
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