As you’ve probably been told, networking skills are an integral ingredient in a successful career nowadays. While meeting and greeting aren’t always a person’s top priority when they start a new role, the earlier you start building your visibility, the less of a hurdle it becomes.
It’s important to start things off in the right way, however. Here are some useful DOs and DON’Ts to help you on your way:
Start with new starters
Networking really begins at the induction or onboarding stage. This is a great way to meet people in a range of roles and across different areas of the organisation. The usual divisions and hierarchies are temporarily put aside, so make the most of it.
Seek out those in the know
Your next step is to connect with those who’ve been there and done it before you. Look to people who’ve started out in the same or similar role and who understand your situation. Getting to know this core group of individuals should be a priority during your first few weeks in the job.
A little more tact is needed when it comes to making connections at a more senior level. You’re ideally looking for people with influence who are supportive of new or younger employees. A manager or, better yet, a mentor should be able to direct you towards the kind of people you should be connecting with.
Let opportunities pass you by
Networking opportunities come in various guises. Work drinks and informal get-togethers can be great settings to make those all-important connections. The same goes for charity initiatives, recruitment fairs etc. – the more things you put your hand up for, the broader mix of people you’re likely to meet.
Be too forceful
While it’s important to take a proactive approach, there’s still a balance to be found. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin or eschew the appropriate channels while you’re still forging an identity for yourself. You need a solid base to work with – it’s about ‘earning’ your network by working hard and proving yourself as an employee.
Networking is very much a fine art and it’s not always easy to get it right. The key is to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, while being selective in terms of the people you approach and taking care of your own reputation in the meantime. Tread carefully – getting off to a good start is important, but you don’t have to build your entire network in your first week.
Source: HN Global