Remember the old saying “It’s all about who you know”. Clichés normally have an element of truth in them and it’s been reported that 85% of all jobs are filled through connections, whether they be past employers, friends of employees or someone they met through networking or other such events.
Strong professional relationships are therefore key when looking for your next career move.
So how do you go about forging new relationships?
Here is King Recruit’s guidance on how to strengthen your network when it comes to strengthening your career.
It’s all about ‘the give’ before you take.
When you say the word networking, your first thought is an event filled with people with an agenda, small talk, pleasantries then an exchange of an unwanted business card, before moving onto the next person.
To build networking relationships you must have something to give or offer. For example, if you are trying to network your way into a company or meet higher management in your own business, are you genuinely interested in building relationships with the people you meet along the way? If not, that is no way to boost your career.
Rather than seeing your connections as stepping stones or a way in, if you have something to offer them; assistance with a research project, or maybe you can recommend a course or offer to help fill their knowledge gaps, this is an excellent foundation to build upon! Even better, try and connect on a personal level or connect with them over mutual interests. By being a ‘go-to’ person or someone they share interests with they are far more likely to remember you or consider you for a position.
When the time comes to start your new role, you already have the foundation for great working relationships.
Connect through communication.
Maya Angelou said, “people won’t remember what you said, people won’t remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel”.
Building a connection on feeling is down to how you communicate with others. Remember every word you say will either work in support of your goals or do the opposite.
To connect with your network, firstly ascertain who it is you are talking too, do your best to match their style and their vocabulary.
Having an agenda to get across whilst trying to form a new connection isn’t the best strategy. As much as what you want to portray is important, in order to build the connection you need to ask them questions, engage them in conversation in topics you both have of interest and ask their opinions. Your connection will then take your interest in them and will be warmer and more accepting if they feel the connection between you is genuine!
It’s just as important if not more so to pay attention to the answers they give. Actively listen. It’s easy to ask a question and trail off in your mind, but if you actually hear what they say rather than go through the motions you will better engage with your connection. Have an open mind when hearing them, they may have something of value you hadn’t considered.
Demonstrate you have heard them, this shows that not only you were listening, but you have absorbed what they have to say, making their opinions valued.
Try all forms of networking.
If going to the same networking events each time aren’t working for you, consider changing it up. Rather than attending specific events to your field why don’t you try more generalist events, say you are a Legal Firm, how about attending an event on financial crime. This will expand your networking circles.
Not all networking needs to be on a face to face basis. You can make connections all over the world online. LinkedIn is a great platform for making these connections, however before you go and fire off hundreds of requests ensure that the online version of you matches who they would meet in person. If you build your brand, your online presence is more attractive to potential contacts. Small things like adding your contact details on posts give the impression that you are open to conversations, if you post regularly anyone who comments – thank them for their feedback.
Ensure your online presence is active, consistent and personal, from your posts to your requests.
Now you’re equipped with the information to forge new relationships, don’t forget your old connections. For a relationship to strive your old and new connections will need to be sustained, don’t neglect them after you reached where you wanted to be, who knows when you may need them in the future.
At King Recruit we help shape careers. If you are looking for a new opportunity, call King Recruit on 01392 790725 for a confidential discussion.