Whatever you lack in talent, you should be able to make up for it in enthusiasm, and business networking is the best way to do this by demonstrating your passion for your industry.
However, this can occur only once you have an idea of what you want to achieve in the next five years. What is your ideal position in your industry? And who do you want to work with when you’ve achieved this?
Keep this in mind as you follow these steps to establishing a strong network.
Build your internal network
Don’t limit yourself to knowing who is in your team or those in your age group. You’re not in business to make friends with your peers. Make sure you research the company’s organisational chart and connect with key people within the organisation.
It may be having a coffee, lunch or a get-to-know-you meeting, although make sure you build your networks internal to your organisation, and not on a purely social level.
Find out all the key players in your current industry and connect with them. Attend the right events and learn as much about other people in this industry as you can.
Subscribe to the relevant publications and if possible start contributing your expertise to these online and offline media outlets.
People in the know need to know who you are and what you can do for them (and at that level, they’re not going to seek you out themselves. You’ve got to tell them).
Cross industry network
This is where you can make the biggest impact to your career. People often avoid mixing outside their industry – big mistake. Huge. Cross-pollination of connections and contacts is where opportunities are found!
Is there an industry you have always wanted to know about or you’re passionate about?
You may be a lawyer who is passionate about sport – then start attending sporting-related business events and build your networks. You never know, that may lead to a career change ¬– on average Australians change careers seven times during their lifetime.
Using the right tools
Now the best way to build up these networks is to connect both online and offline. Don’t stick to one avenue, and make sure you consider: