Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Remaining engaged with the industry during this shutdown, and maintaining and expanding our professional networks, will be essential in generating opportunities for the future. Richard sits down with Scott Barber and Satu Raunola-Spender, two well-known experts within the industry with years of experience building professional connections, to talk about the advantages of taking time to curate and nurture your network. Here is a rundown on the significance of keeping connected, how networks are helpful for your professional career, and how to get started!
Why is it Important to Stay Connected?
· Satu calls her network her wealth. In all kinds of situations, her network is a database she can call upon with people from different industries who can help her.
· What is your aim in connecting with different people? Is it mentorship or upskilling yourself? What can this new or existing network bring to you in a challenging situation?
· It is important to maintain a positive peer group – connect with people who will support you, and who you will support.
· Networks serve two purposes: what can you do for others and what can your contacts do for you?
Networks and Your Professional Career
· When you’re in a new professional situation, you need to connect with new people. Reach out to people in the industry, people who you admire and want to emulate in your own career.
· Look for new opportunities and talk to experts in the field.
· If you’re changing industries or taking a break, maintain your connections and stay current. Meet up for coffees and keep up to date.
· Scott informs us that 70% of people get their job through their networks. So, it is critical to maintain your network if you’re hoping to get a job through it.
· Peer recommendations are so important – think about who you know who can assist on you on your professional journey, or who could recommend you.
· Don’t be scared to talk to people – remember, people love to talk about themselves!
· Right now, you can contact people via phone or zoom.
How to Get Started?
· Finding the motivation or time to grow your network might be a challenge you’re facing today. A good tactic is to set yourself a goal of reaching out to one person per day.
· Remember, not everyone is in the same headspace as you, so don’t pick up the phone because you feel like chatting. A suggestion it to use text to check in and give the option of a call.
· Everyone has a network: list people you know – neighbours, people with similar interests, customers, colleagues or ex-colleagues.
· Reach out to people on LinkedIn, or if you want to connect with someone you don’t know, check if an existing contact can introduce you. If not, send the individual a professional message with a reason about why you want to connect. For example, let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity, you’re not sure which way to go, could they share how their journey came to be successful.
· Other networking communities are Facebook groups, university alumni, people from previous work.
· Think about what networks are important for you right now and in the future – where do you want your career to go and who can help you.
· Your networks can even include people you meet at the dog park or on your morning walk - we’re living in uncertain times and people are quite welcoming of new connections.
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