As a graduate degree holder and a former talent acquisition trainee, I have learned precisely what it takes to have a successful career. It is the one thing you are likely not emphasising, the one thing that could take you to greater heights – networking.
You had heard about it when you pursued your graduate degree, but you spent little time widening your network of business contacts. Having the talent and sheer will to get things done is one thing. Networking with professionals within and outside your industry is another. Continue reading to discover why the importance of networking cannot be overstated.
1. Who you know matters more than what you know.
This phrase has become all too common everywhere. I am sure you have heard of it at least once in your lifetime. Depending on how you look at it, there is an element of truth to it. For example, I landed my first job out of university thanks to my connections on LinkedIn. I informed virtually everyone that I was looking for a job, and in a short time, one of them responded to me with a job opportunity. Eventually, that person became my line manager.
2. You hear of promotions and new opportunities first.
I have more than one side hustle on my plate, and so, I have met several people from various industries through the assignments I have committed to beyond the boundaries of the full-time job I once had.
When I was studying in Melbourne in 2019, I made several pitches to multiple event organisers about my photography portfolio. Although most of my pitches failed, I have come to know a few Melbournians. They tried to land me a job opportunity there but to no avail. Fast forward to the present, and I appreciate that we are still keeping in touch with each other. Never underestimate the power of your connections.
3. There is no place like the Internet.
The Internet is one of the best things humanity has ever created. You can approach virtually anyone, anywhere and whenever you want with ease. At the same time, there are so many employment websites and networking platforms that you can utilise to search for your desired dream career.
Sites such as Platform and LinkedIn provide insights into employees’ experience with the companies they worked for and the learning journeys they embraced during their tenure.
4. You meet new clients, which means more money coming in.
My current job role does not benefit from this. However, I have witnessed it working firsthand with my friends who actively work as marketers and salespersons. Networking can be anything from having a drink at the bar to attending a formal occasion. These situations allow you to mingle with new individuals, and if your duty is to draw in more clients and generate sales, this is your bread and butter. Even if you do not have any product or service to pitch, being social can lead you to other people from all walks of life. You never know who you may interact with.
Final 2¢: Okay, so how now?
As much as networking is advantageous to your career and perhaps your personal life too, the truth is that not everyone is born to be good at networking. For some individuals, the thought of starting a conversation with a stranger at a formal networking event can be downright terrifying.
So, a good rule of thumb is to plan in advance and keep a few relevant points of discussion in mind if you are aware that you are bound to be in a scenario where you will have to chat with new people. These discussion points do not have to be solely about work; they can even be about things related to your hobbies or the event itself. The goal here is to get the conversation going and make space for future meetups and discussions. So, always remember to keep a couple of business cards in your wallet so that you can swap details with each other effortlessly.