Take advantage of networking

It’s not what you know but who you know. Knowing the right people can help to bring career opportunities your way, which can give you more chances to market yourself. And the key to having great connections is networking.

If you’re new to networking or you haven’t done it in a while then these tips may come in handy:

Make it a habit

Networking can help build an essential resource that you can rely on when needed. But it does take some work. As with so many other things, the more you do, the better you’ll be. So make networking a habit, do it regularly rather than something which you do occasionally.

Start with what you know

If you’re daunted by the concept of networking, make a start with people you already know. This can help you to gain the confidence you’ll need to make the next step, such as attending networking events with like-minded people.

Join a networking group

Look for networking groups in your area that would suit your career – there are loads of groups based around the UK so you should hopefully be able to find one to suit your needs. There are groups for different sectors, trades, interests etc so be specific about the type of group you want to join. Don’t forget, there are also online networking groups, such as LinkedIn groups.

Networking at work

Get to know people at work, if you work in a large company get to know people from different departments rather than staying stuck behind your desk every day. Networking at work can help to further your career and can be just as beneficial as joining networking groups.

Go professional

Take the opportunity to get involved and attend conferences, seminars and external meetings. These can all help to extend your connections.

Focus on what you like

Networking doesn’t have to just be a professional activity. For example, if you enjoy reading, why not join a book club? If you’re passionate about film, find a film club. This can be great if you’re not a natural networker, as you will get into the habit of talking to people you don’t know.

It’s not all one-sided

If all your networking attempts are one-sided – that is, you’re relying on your connections for information but you’re not giving anything in return – you won’t get very far. Don’t forget, you may have valuable information or contacts that could help others too.

Set goals

Networking can be time-consuming, be clear about your goals and plan how you’ll achieve them. That way, if a connection asks you what you want out of the relationship, you’ll have the answer.

Be positive

Always be positive about yourself and your colleagues. It can be tempting to be critical in some circumstances, but avoid using negative language. That way, you’ll build a reputation as being a positive and enthusiastic person, and others will respond positively and enthusiastically towards you in return.