One of the main challenges facing someone who is moving to a new field of professional activity is the complete lack of necessary connections and networks. You are lucky if you are sociable enough to easily make contact with the right people without feeling the embarrassment of doing this on your own initiative. But what about those who do not have this charm and strong skill of communication?
Social networks might be extremely helpful if used properly. To build your own database of professional contacts, you can set up a separate account where you will publish information that reflects your professional merits and achievements. Don’t indulge in semi-official extreme modes such as uploading your passport photo as your profile picture, just try to keep the balance.
“A rolling stone gathers no moss” should be your reminder in order to avoid having a dead page. You still have to set aside some time to talk about the professional topics out there. Join some professional groups and social platforms to express your expert opinions which will draw attention to your profile.
Your professional account is something between an online business card and interactive CV. Regular updates will be able to add interesting credibility to your page. In some cases, good results can be achieved by posting some professional events, such as upcoming online conferences, workshops or seminars. People behind these events might acknowledge your help in promoting them and start letting you know about other upcoming events in advance which will help to widen your network even more.
Have we already met somewhere
But no matter how effective your actions are in an online environment, sooner or later you will have to get out into the real world. As many studies have shown the greatest response is received from real contact with other people. Even if your communication skills are poor, you need to invest some time and make some effort to establish personal professional relationships.
Logic of action in this case should be the same as in an online world. Your aim is to be noticed in a professional environment. First of all, consider what events take place in your area?
Conferences and seminars are great options for those who want to enter into a closed circle of professionals. You benefit in several ways by making useful contacts with the organizers or speakers, join professional discussions with other members and at the same time acquire additional knowledge within the industry. In addition, various coffee breaks and receptions are specifically designed for a more casual gathering, during which the initiative rapprochement with others is not only relevant, but also encouraged.
For those who are not afraid to speak in front of a large audience can choose another safe way to draw attention to themselves. Speaking at a business conference will increase your number of new connections. It is possible that some of the attendees will approach you to discuss your speech. Here you need to be careful not to become an easy prey of some manipulator who just wants to publicly demonstrate your incompetence along with their own brilliant and high quality debating skills.
Work for results
The success of any business depends on how your efforts brought you closer to the desired results. Most likely, your initial goal is not to simply get a pile of new business cards. Ask yourself this question: why do you need all of these connections? Participation in most workshops is not free, so you should know in advance what return of investment you are expecting to get.
You might waste your time on the development and maintenance of your online professional profile and participation in numerous workshops and seminars. When and what exactly do you plan to “recapture” from this expense?
Networking gurus recommend you regularly keep in touch with your network and use any single connection for your own benefit. You built this network not for show, but for career and financial opportunities. Do not hesitate to contact new connections for support or advice, but give them some time. Do not attack them with requests the very next day after the business cards were exchanged.
Building your professional network doesn’t only increase your chances of successful employment. Most of those with whom you meet at workshops and seminars are unlikely to be the hiring managers. New connections might bring you some attractive joint project or even necessary recommendations.
Networking helps you integrate into professional environments and gradually guide’s you through its internal structure. For example, it will be much easier to gather feedback about potential employers if you know someone who used to work in the company or who is even working there at the moment. And for your new employer you will not be considered as a young professional without an established name within the industry.
Public speaking or participating in master classes are not only useful for building your connections but also in developing your professional portfolio. Even if you don’t have an impressive experience, participation in business events and conferences will always speak in your favour.
If you are changing your current profession, then you have an additional trump card in response to a question about the reasons for such a decision. The best proof that you are really interested in the new industry is the participation in master classes, workshops and training. HR-managers tend to positively evaluate such activities, especially if the candidate emphasizes that the primary motive was not only learning new skills, but also building their own network.
Even if you are not so active and sociable as you wish to appear in the interview, a set of actions aimed at creating your own professional network will help convince the HR-manager that you can bring value to the company.
Group Marketing Manager
Tel: +44 (0)207 467 2520
Mob: +44 (0)788 925 2740