We've all heard the saying it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. Whilst this is not the be all and end all of a person's career prospects, it does hold some truth in a lot of industries. Having contacts and developing a reputation for yourself is a great way to get ahead.
One of the best ways recruiters can demonstrate their value to clients is their ability to network and seek out relationships with fellow industry professionals. It's all about building a strong directory.
So how can you make it happen for yourself?
What Is Networking?
The act of networking can take many forms. It can take place anywhere you like, really. Thanks to social media, you can even now network straight from your phone, through apps like LinkedIn. It's easy as a comment under someone's post or a direct message to reach out and strike up a conversation.
Depending on the circumstances you're in, it can be super formal or informal. It could be as simple as giving out your business card to someone at a networking event, or scheduling a meeting over coffee.
Why Is It So Important?
As we said, it pays off to know the right people. Literally £££.
When you have those individuals at the end of the phone, it can lead to great things. Expansion of clients and candidates, an increasingly impressive roster and overall lead to more opportunities for progression and exposure. And duh, more money.
When it comes to recruitment, it can also put you first in line for opportunities that others might not be aware of yet¦ e.g. job openings that aren't advertised. It might even put you first in line for new candidates with great potential. Favouritism never felt so good.
Where Do I Start?
For the modern day business world, networking is almost vital. However, it can be difficult to know where to start - often it can be a bit nerve wracking too if you struggle with confidence. Here are a few different types of business networks you could find and join:
- Learning networks - training and development activities, hear from high-profile speakers and researchers, approach relevant associations and industry bodies and ask them about their seminars
- Regional/local organisations - seek advice, support and local news
- Online networks - web based communities providing opportunities to communicate with other business people and potential customers
- Run the World
- Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) - to boost skill sets and productivity of those in the sector's workforce
It might be a good idea to use online networking platforms as a starting point. If you make the right first impression, it can usually lead to a face-to-face meeting so it's a nice way to ease into it if you find the process daunting. Make your presence known and your voice heard!
Don't just stay put on the internet, however - you'll find you won't make any significant or lasting relationships if you stay sat behind a screen.
Top Tips Going Forward
This may seem like an obvious tip, but always take note of anyone you meet, their contact details and what they do within their role. There needs to be a story to the name. Have a document dedicated to a list to refer back to, because you never know when it might come in handy. It's also super embarrassing if you forget someone's name - been there, done that (never again).
This is one of the most challenging elements of networking. Once you've made those connections, they shouldn't be neglected. You need to ensure that they don't just forget about you and that you're front of their mind when it comes to new opportunities.
You shouldn't leave it for months and then suddenly get in contact asking for an olive branch - perhaps check in with them every so often, without seeming too intense. You could suggest a casual coffee date every now and then.
Always be prepared at all times - always carry a business card! You never know when the right opportunity might arise. Also, perhaps create an elevator pitch that's easy to remember, but not too rehearsed - always know the right things to say, and don't fumble your words; have conviction in what you have to offer.
Hopefully we've provided some insightful information and tips for you to smash it in the world of networking. If you're interested in switching careers and becoming a recruiter, get in contact with us today.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter jampacked with the latest tips, news, and opportunities within FMCG and Recruitment.