Networking can be defined as using personal relationships to forge lasting business relationships. They can provide you with an unparalleled link to some of the jobs that are not advertised, for example roles that are being recruited for in exclusivity by specialist recruitment consultancies, while established professionals can enhance their knowledge by learning, sharing and exchanging business ideas.
Just think of the professional and personal benefits. Whenever making new contacts at conferences, industry events or award ceremonies, try to avoid ‘working the room’, as a cluster of business cards from people you don’t know will be of little use to you. The secret is to build a rapport with a couple of people. It pays to listen and take an interest in what others have to say and make sure you treat new contacts politely. Make notes and ensure you return all calls within 24 hours. You can’t go to every event, so pick the ones you feel will serve you best.
By registering with a specialist recruitment consultancy, jobseekers are effectively ‘buying in’ to an established network of employer contacts and a myriad of nationwide and global opportunities, particularly useful during a downturn when jobs are scarce. Specialist agencies are market experts and can guide on a range of issues, including salary and careers advice.
Networking should not be drudgery but should be enjoyed. Everyone is subconsciously doing it all the time, and you are going to be doing it for the rest of your life, both in personal and professional circles. Use the information to help you, as you can be sure that others will use you as a contact to help them too. While the benefits of networking cannot be quantified, they are not to be underestimated either.
Remember, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be effective at networking: just listen, pick your targets and use every opportunity to learn and absorb information. Or if you are new to job seeking, register with a reputable specialist recruiter and let them help find the right role for you.