Building Your Network: How to Network as a Young Professional
Networking is all about making connections and progressing your connections into professional relationships. These relationships usually come from sharing common interests and finding someone who you can get along with, personally and professionally.
The best thing about networking is when you connect with someone, they have the potential to introduce you to someone else who may present you with an opportunity.
Young people who are struggling as graduates also find it helpful to network with those in a similar situation helping each other to break into the world of full time work.
Making initial conversations at networking events can be difficult, however these should be seen as opportunities. These are beneficial and will prove productive in helping you find the career for you.
As a young professional it is important to consider your own qualities and interests when deciding who you want to approach or add to your networking circle. Particularly considering social networking, connecting with everyone you went to school or university with will make it difficult to find common ground in a role you are interested in.
Engage with your connections
Identifying opportunities where you can meet people and making genuine connections is one thing, but continuing to engage with them is equally important. This means you will be able to lean on your connections for advice, support, introductions and positive referrals.
Consider approaching people who you respect and admire, even if this is daunting. When you are starting out, consider asking to meet for a coffee before you ask someone to be a referee or a mentor. Remember – the purpose of these relationships is to build genuine connections, not only for career benefits.
LinkedIn has become a hugely important networking tool, which can open up a number of doors for young professionals. The platform creates an easy way to search and connect with currently colleagues and people you may know.
Following companies and organisations can also result in profile views and new connections. Companies often post job listings on their LinkedIn pages, meaning you can keep on top of all opportunities that may become available.
Attending as many networking events as possible will increase your chances of meeting people who may be able to link you to your ideal role or career. Opportunities to get to know people in your field are never a waste of time in the professional world. Considering saying yes to events outside of your comfort zone or interests – you never know who you may meet and have a connection with.
Continue to add to your network
As you grow and progress through different careers, your professional circle can also change. Acting on these changes is important and will mean you can connect with people who will aid your growth in your chosen career. It is recommended you ask yourself what you want to achieve, who may be able to help you and how you can help others along the way.