Networking for career success

Author: Liam Grant, Senior Recruitment Consultant - Accountancy & Finance, Hays Middle East 

“Networking” is a phrase common in today’s job market. For many, it is acknowledged as an essential means to career success. But what does that really mean for you? How can you reap the full benefits of networking in the interest of your future career?

To help, I have listed below four key people who I would recommend networking with initially:

1. Recruiters

As a recruiter myself, this is an obvious point of contact to suggest however, often one that is overlooked - particularly if you are not actively looking for a new role. Networking with recruiters is advantageous for a number of reasons but most critically due to their in-depth market knowledge; they can provide insights around which industries and companies are performing well and which are not, the average salaries being paid, as well as trends around the skills and expertise likely to be in demand within your profession in the future.

Of course, if you are looking for a new job, recruiters are an invaluable connection for informing you as to current available positions and what you can expect as part of the application process at different companies.

2. Senior managers in your company

Networking with senior managers in your current company has a two-fold advantage; firstly, you can raise your personal profile and perceptions surrounding your capabilities to them. This could enhance your chances of progression in future and make more visible to you the range of opportunities available within your organisation. Secondly, by broadening your awareness of what is happening in the other departments that the managers operate in, you will get a better grasp what is going on in the organisation as a whole and build key employability skills, not least your commercial awareness.

3. Competitors

Establishing a professional working relationship with representatives from competitor companies by networking with them on an ad hoc basis is incredibly valuable. Industry events are one means in which to do this; they provide a great environment for sharing transparent information around trends that are taking place in the market, as well as opportunities and challenges on the horizon. By taking part in this type of networking, you can get a better feel of the market you work in and share insights with other members of your team, which shows strong initiative.

4. Your manager

As an employee, networking with your manager is something that you will undoubtedly be doing to some degree but may not be fully maximising the opportunities of. Do you know, for example, exactly what is expected of you in the next six to 12 months? What direction are you likely to progress in the future from this role? Is this aligned to your career aspirations? If not, how can you better utilise your relationship with your manager to glean such information and set yourself up for future success? 

Networking can come in many different forms. It doesn’t have to have an agreed start time or be held in a boardroom. It can simply be a coffee or a brief chat in the company kitchen, at an industry event or even through online social channels such as LinkedIn. Use your time effectively; talk to the right people and you will get results. 

If you found this useful, you may also be interested to watch the following video which discusses 'Networking to unlock your potential':

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