Who has the time every single day to think about their professional network? Probably no one, but you should always be conscious of what is happening in your network and taking small steps to grow it for your own professional benefit. Keeping in contact with people you have met at past jobs, networking events or even people you would love to speak to is the key to helping your career now and in the future. At the moment, we all know the importance of being online and keeping active in your community, but there are more ways than one to build a successful network. Networking doesn’t just mean talking to people at events, it can be online, through social media and online work events. It can even mean simply branching out to a new team in your company to meet and engage with new people. You never know who you will meet and how they can help you.
Let’s start with LinkedIn
LinkedIn tends to be where most people start when thinking about their network of contacts and this platform can be one of the easier and more efficient ways of meeting and talking to new people. LinkedIn allows you to find people from your company, past employers, recruiters, and anyone you think that can benefit you. You are able to connect with friends and people from university, typically people you don’t necessarily think would be good for your network, but these are the people that can connect you to a whole new world of people.
As well as connecting with other people, you can share relevant news, comment and like other people’s posts. There is also a news section, which can help you keep up to date with industry news and articles, as well as talking to other likeminded engineers like yourself.
You can use LinkedIn like a virtual CV if you prefer. You can update your profile with job history, qualifications and share information about yourself that can interest recruiters and employers. A lot of job seekers are actually putting a link to their LinkedIn page on their CV, so the employer can learn a little bit more about them. Others can see your likes, posts and how you interact with others on the platform, which can show an employer more about you than a CV can sometimes. If you are looking for a new role, make sure to Click here to join E&T Jobs LinkedIn group. Here is a good place to start if you haven’t done much with your LinkedIn page before.
Being invited to an in-person event can feel like a thing of the past, but they will be making a come back and you should be ready for them. Until that time comes, virtual events have grown in popularity. One event that can be important if you’re job seeking, are job fairs and recruitment events. Even if you don’t think there is a particular job that stands out to you, simply going and speaking to other engineers in a business and recruiters can set you up nicely. Just because there isn’t anything on offer that sparks your interest now, doesn’t mean there won’t be in the near future. Getting out there, or going online to share your interest, can make you memorable if you do ever apply for a role with a specific company.
Other industry events can be a great place to find like-minded professionals in your field. Events can often consist of seminars, panels of engineering professionals and a lot of time to talk to colleagues and other professionals in your sector. These events are created so that people can take some time to learn more about their chosen industry and so companies can find potential employees. You all chose to be there and talking to new people can help you in your own career. It can reassure you that you have chosen the correct route for yourself and can be incredibly inspiring when you talk to other individuals that have the same passion you do about your field. Talking to new people can also result in you finding something new you may want to explore, creating new ideas and potential job routes. Simply talking to someone new can bring new ideas and creativity to explore. It’s worth asking for people’s contact details while you attend events like these to ensure you can reach them again, it’s likely they would like to add you to their network as well.
So, why is your network so important?
One of the main benefits of networking is the impact it can have on your career. When you get out there (or online) and make the effort to talk to new people, employers etc. you are showing that you are passionate about your career. Investing in these relationships can help you in the future. By communicating and connecting with a wide array of people you can stay on top of the job market, understand trends in your area of expertise and overall talk to people you wouldn’t usually get the chance to. It gives you a great number of resources for career development without you even realising. Whether that be working with or for them in the future or simply having a source put in a good word about you can work wonders. Never underestimate the power of good communication.
Building a good network of supportive people isn’t only good for your career, but it can help your mental health. Simply talking to people that understand you can go a really long way. Building your network is something that can take a substantial amount of time, but you should never really stop. Looking for opportunities and people that you think could help you (and you can help them) will help you grow and develop as a person. That is why networking can be so important to a person and not just their career.