Make the most of your new job with these solid networking tips.
Money isn’t the only thing you get out of a job. Sure it may be the main reason that stops you from throwing your alarm against the wall every morning, but at the end of the day there’s more to your job than just a means of filling your wallet.
Your job connects you with people in your line of work and helps you grow professionally. Networking with others cements your position in the industry and brings you closer to professionals that can help you succeed in your work and career. They can be instrumental in helping you secure better work opportunities.
Anytime you plan on switching jobs or changing careers, you rely on your network. The wider the network, the better your opportunities will be.
Getting hired to a new job doesn’t mean you should stop networking, rather it means the opposite. A new job opens up doors and meeting points with potential contacts in your profession. Implement some networking tips after you’re hired in a new place to bring long-term benefits to your professional life.
Networking Tip #1: Make a lasting impact
One of the major sources of networking is your job. It gives you a platform to connect with people you meet or work with. Work activities help you get acquainted with individuals both inside and outside of your organization.
Sat next to somebody at a digital marketing meeting last week? Worked with someone on a project in London? Introduced to an executive by your boss? They all can be part of your network and you are part of theirs. But only if you leave a memorable impression.
Professionals meet dozens of new people every single day, so it’s not so hard for a one five-minute conversation to be forgotten in the midst of it all. Only those who are interesting stay in mind longer than others. People who look, say or do something interesting are more likely to make a lasting impact and are easier to recall.
To be interesting you need to showcase a detail which differentiates you from the crowd. That doesn’t mean becoming a James Bond figure clad in black and oozing mystique and charisma in a not-so-relatable way. Interesting can be your haircut, your personality or an interesting story about why you got late.
In a new job, making an impression on customers and external stakeholders is usually much harder than for an experienced employee, since the lack of knowledge and accomplishments on the current work can make it harder to connect. In such cases, steer the conversation from what you currently do to what you have done, and focus on your strengths to find something common to connect on.
Networking Tip #2: Exchange business cards
One of the first things you should do after joining a company is ordering your business cards. They are a great tool to connect with people both within and outside your company – especially during the first few weeks of a new job when you are introduced to employees and other people dealing with the company.
Exchanging business cards is a great way to establish a connection. Using the information on their card makes easier to reach your contacts if the need arises, and they too can contact you.
A business card clearly defines your position and full name, which can be difficult to communicate in routine conversations. Giving and taking cards let both parties know who they are dealing with, and gives them a way to connect with each other again. Any mentor giving you networking tips will tell you to immediately make and distribute business cards after taking on a new job.
Networking Tip#3: Use LinkedIn
It only makes sense in today’s Internet age to keep a digital network, and there’s no better way to do that than through the world’s largest online professional networking site – LinkedIn. The website has a host of tools and features to keep you relevant in your network’s mind and to preserve long-lasting connections.
After you are hired in a new organization, your colleagues will typically reach out to you and connect on LinkedIn. But you must also make an effort. Find and follow your company’s business page on LinkedIn, and send requests to connect to all the employees in your branch.
The eagerness to connect with your organization will reflect positively in the workplace, and make it easier to fit in with the work staff.
Networking Tip #4: Attend events
For new hires, professional events are a great way to meet new people and to associate with other people in the same industry. They could be events organized by the company you work at or by professional organizations, clubs and unions.
Most professional events arrange networking sessions allowing attendees to meet new people and connect with each other. Try to attend as many events as you can, and take a bunch of business cards with you to exchange with people you meet.
Networking Tip #5. Maintain your network
Taking on a new job introduces you to new connections and a new web of networks, but networking doesn’t just end with exchanging contact information. It is a process which is continuous and ongoing.
Not only must you extend your network by including new colleagues and contacts, but you must also commit to maintaining your current network and past connections.
Sustaining your network requires effort starting from the time you are first introduced to a contact.
Any time you get a business card, write down helpful details on the back of the card to help you recall the person. Organize your collection of business cards in a folder or card-holder book in order of priority. Categorize contacts into two or three groups on the basis of importance, ranking each group number-wise or alphabetically.
No amount of networking tips can help you if you don’t remember who your contacts are. Use whatever method is convenient for you to create a system that lists them and helps you remember them.
Schedule regular meetings or phone calls with those contacts in the most important group, and maybe just limit Christmas or Eid cards for the least important group.
You can make a plan on how to engage with contacts of different groups according to your own preferences, and create a schedule to keep on track.
Article by Mishka Nasir Orakzai