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Following a successful couple of days exhibiting at the All Energy conference we wanted to reflect upon the importance of networking for professional growth.
We live in an age where building your career is all about who you know not what you know, and therefore it is vital we embrace networking opportunities and use them to our advantage.
What is Networking?
Networking is about establishing and nurturing long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. This can happen anywhere, whilst you’re getting coffee, by joining a sports team or attending conferences and industry events.
This doesn’t mean you need to network with anybody and everybody you can, but rather build a network of people who are relevant to your career and industry.
Once you start to build your confidence you start to realise that networking opportunities are all around you.
Why is Networking Important?
When making a career move, it is likely you are going to be competing against candidates who have very similar qualifications and experiences as you and therefore it is essential to stand out in other ways.
Networking helps you to develop relationships with potential mentors, partners and clients whom you would normally struggle to get in front of. It is also an integral way to build your skill set, helping you to stay on top of industry trends, the job market and training opportunities.
Practice Makes Perfect
There is no set way to network, everyone is different and therefore the way an extrovert would feel comfortable approaching networking would not work for an introvert.
For example, an introvert may find one-on-one coffee meetings or intimate events more manageable and an extrovert may be happy to attend large events and make public speeches to get in front of people. The key is to try out different techniques and find a style that suits you and your personality, simply being open and willing to seize new opportunities is a great way to start.
Once you have discovered which networking style is the best fit for you, consider where you can go to reach the right people and add value.
Always Follow up
All of the time and energy you put into speaking to someone is wasted if you don’t follow it up after. The goal of networking is to develop long-term relationships, you need to maintain and nurture the relationships you deem useful in order for it to be successful.
This doesn’t need to be a long heartfelt message about how wonderful it was to meet them, a simple LinkedIn request with a personalised message goes a long way.
When you do reach out in the future, make sure you are also providing them with something useful and valuable to them and always have a specific reason for reaching out.
LinkedIn is a great place to start networking, you can use your profile as a your own professional brochure and easily search for people in your industry. To get the most out of the platform only join groups that are relevant to your interests and engage in posts when you feel like you can add value to the conversation.
Here at Greenwood, we are a very social bunch and we are always keen to connect with people in or interested in the renewable energy industry, click here to follow us on LinkedIn and let’s start a conversation!