Networking can be difficult when you are just starting out in the job market. This is because of the perception we have of it. We feel manipulative when we form connections to further our careers. Good networking should actually be about building genuine and sincere relationships with people. This means that we treat professional relationships like all others. You don’t just ask for favours when you need them. Not a lot of people will put up with that. We know the importance of good professional relationships. These “links” will alert you of job leads, and will also make introductions to vendors, suppliers or whatever else is appropriate in your position. Here are some tips to help you build mutually beneficial professional relationships.
Take Note Of The Relationtionships You Want To Build.
You need to be aware of the professional relationships that you want to build on. During internships and your national service, you make connections that you may want to nurture. Make sure to recognize which relationships these are and take the appropriate measures to maintain them. Look for common interests outside of work, or within the context of the job if it’s something you both enjoy talking about. Sending an email once in a while is not a bad idea. If keeping in touch by phone works for you, do that. If you have a professional request, remember to be direct. Beating about the bush before making a request could paint you in an unfavourable light.
Take Advantage Of Work Events.
Social events organized by your workplace are a good opportunity to meet people and expand your professional network. That being said, nobody wants to be harassed at a social function on their downtime. Whether it’s a dinner or a company day out over the weekend, be appropriate for the situation. Express a genuine interest in the people you want to know, outside of their work. Find out what their hobbies are, and the things they love to spend their time on outside of work. People tend to generally like other people who have an interest in them. You can take the person’s contact information, to keep in touch.
Take Note Of People Not Just Positions.
During a job, when you come across exceptional people, you can tell. These are the people that give the impression that they’re going to be successful in the future. It is a good idea to nurture those relationships while you still have access to them. Even if you are wrong about where they end up, those will always be interesting relationships to have.
Networking usually also involves a lot of giving. You need professional favours, but so do other people. Be generous for its sake and don’t necessarily expect something back. When the time comes for your ask you would have already established a great relationship with the people in your network. Giving and expecting favours back is transactional and will put people off.
Start With People You Know.
If you are a shy person, immediately reaching out to strangers can be intimidating. It is a good idea, then, to approach people that you have already established a relationship with. This could include friends of your immediate family, your extended family and the family of your friends. Networking with these people you have a rapport with will help build the practice. This way you can eventually build connections from scratch.
Networking is as important a tool for your career as your actual skillset.