Networking is one of the most valuable skills you can develop, it can bring value to your work and enhance your career progression. Building and nurturing relationships can open doors, provide valuable insights and create opportunities for growth and advancement in your career.

Here we will go over the best ways to approach professional networking:

SET YOUR GOALS: Before you start networking, define your career goals and objectives. Having a clear sense of what you want to achieve will help you focus your networking efforts on the right people and opportunities. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter (or X as it is now), and even Facebook can be powerful tools for networking. Create a professional online presence, start by connecting with industry peers, and engage in relevant conversations to expand your network. It is also worth reviewing your social media history – just in case you have said something inappropriate.

BECOME WANTED: When building your career, it’s important to be visible – from work colleagues to potential employers. By attending networking events, you’ll build your status within the community by building professional relationships and sharing your knowledge on topics you’re familiar with, as well as providing your unique perspective on different areas of business.  By increasing the frequency of your networking increases your chances of meeting the right people. When at networking events ensure you listen attentively, remember peoples names, add your knowledge where appropriate, and most importantly follow-up on conversationsexpressing your appreciation for their time. This simple gesture can leave a lasting impression and help maintain the connectionYou will soon become a person that people want to speak with.

MASTER COMMUNICATION: Effective networking involves active listening and engaging in meaningful conversations. Develop your communication skills, ask open-ended questions, and show genuine interest in others’ experiences and opinions.Share your knowledge, offer assistance, and provide value to your contacts. The more you contribute, the more you’ll be remembered and respected in your professional network. Industry experts tend to be well connected themselves so this can open up even more opportunities for you. Having a personal understanding of your industry also puts you in a better place for career progression.

MAINTAIN & DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS: Don’t let your networking efforts fizzle out after the initial contact. Regularly check in with your connections, remember what you last spoke about, especially if it was a personal experience, share updates about your career, and offer support when needed. Building a strong professional network takes time. Be patient and persistent, as meaningful connections may not lead to immediate results but can pay off in the long run. Solicit feedback from your network about your skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. Be open to constructive criticism, as it can help you refine your approach and become a better networker.  Seek out mentors and sponsors within your field who can guide you and advocate for your career growth. They can provide valuable advice, introduce you to key contacts, and help you navigate the corporate landscape. Ask fellow networkers what would they do differently if they could go back and if there’s anything they would recommend. Learning from these successes and failures will aid your own career progression. You might initially find this uncomfortable but people are unlikely to react negatively and we tend to like to talking about ourselves.

DIVERSIFY YOUR NETWORK: Aim to build a diverse network that includes people from various backgrounds, industries, and levels of expertise. Diversity can bring fresh perspectives and opportunities you might not have considered otherwise. Become a member of industry-specific associations or organisations. These groups often host events and provide resources to help you expand your network outside of your normal circles and stay updated on industry developments.

LAW OF RECIPROCITY: Professional networking is essentially about helping each other out and sharing. If you give advice to someone or make a valuable introduction for them, they are much more likely to do the same for you in return. So, the more you can help your connections achieve their goals, the more they will want to help you achieve yours. Also, making sure that you care about these contacts and what happens to them will make you unique – you will be perceived as trustworthy and as someone who works to help others.

Networking is a dynamic and ongoing process that can significantly enhance your career progression. By setting clear goals, leveraging both online and offline platforms, and consistently nurturing your relationships, you can build a strong and supportive professional network that opens doors to new opportunities and advances your career. You will benefit from networking regardless of your career and what stage you’ve reached.

For more information then please contact Campbell & Fletcher Recruitment, one of our team here.

T. 07903 018 136