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Networking: A Tool For Career Development

Building a successful career requires skills, dedication, diligence, commitment to mention a few but one thing we cannot take out of the equation is networking!

Networking is simply interacting with people to build and develop valuable relationships that would help you achieve your career goals. You can’t achieve all you want on your own, you need people! You can get a job, connection or important information just because you met someone. 

When we think of networking, we often think it’s about meeting “experts”. While the experts are important for you to learn from, you still need those on your level and those coming after you too. People on different levels are important, there’s something they can offer. 

When looking out for people to network with, consider these types of people:

  1. People who can share their experiences (successes and failures) with you and are willing to give advice.
  2. People who you can work with. These are people that you can build solutions with, learn with and grow together. They are usually on the same level of expertise with you.
  3. Leaders in the industry that can connect you with more people and possibly get you a job opportunity. 
  4. People that can learn from you. These are usually people you are ahead of. 

Here are 4 ways you can use networking as a tool for your career development:

  1. Share a different perspective to topics: There’s always something trending in the tech ecosystem. When preparing for an event, read about some of these topics so when you meet someone you can share your own perspective with them. This would spark an interesting conversation and help them know how much knowledge you have. It also makes it difficult for them to forget you and if there’s an opportunity, they can put in a word for you. 
  2. Get contacts and follow up: The possibility that the person you met at an event also met many other people is very high! After speaking with them, ask for their contacts and reach out afterwards. You can do this on the same day or next day and a few days or weeks after that. Whenever you reach out, make sure you have something valuable to say. You can tell them what you loved about your conversation, what you gained and also tell them something you love about the work they do. 
  3. Connect online: The internet makes it easier to gain access to almost anyone. People share about their career growth and perspective to situations online, this is an opportunity for you after you meet someone. When they share something online, read the post and share a reasonable response. You can also share/repost their content. It helps you get noticed quickly and can lead to a relationship. 
  4. Make yourself valuable too: Have you ever met someone and right after, you checked them out online? If you discover they are knowledgeable and are building thriving careers, it makes you want to be connected to them. This can be you too. Leverage your social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to showcase the skills you have and share about what you’re doing to build your career. It makes people see you as valuable and they’d want to connect with you too.

One of the best things about networking is that it can be mutually beneficial. Think of ways you can help those in your network too and share opportunities with them. Keep your network vibrant and growing. We can all win together!

What’s something new you learnt from this post? Share with someone too!

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