The first years of your career always come with uncertainties. But it’s these career unknowns that can hide untapped career opportunities. Beyond time and experience, networking is an invaluable resource that will help you navigate these and uncover career blind spots.
Maybe you haven’t figured out how to network or think it’s too time-consuming. You might also have preconceived ideas of what it takes to be a good networker:
“I’m not extroverted enough”.
”I’m not naturally charming”.
“I’m not that interesting”.
But here is the good news: networking is something you don’t naturally need to be good at to be great at it. As recruitment specialists, we can help you learn how to grow your professional network and share why investing some time into it each day can really help your career in the long term.
1. “Your network is your net worth”Porter Gale
Do you roll your eyes when you hear networking is one of the most important business skills? It’s possible you’re uncomfortable with the idea that qualifications or experience aren’t enough to guarantee career opportunities. “Why should I rely on other people to progress?”, you might think.
It’s not so much about reliance on others as much as it is about making valuable connections. And while this might appear transactional, it comes down to the basis of relationship-building: genuine mutual interest, and a willingness to help each other out.
2. “The currency of real networking is not greed, but generosity”Keith Ferrazi
As social creatures, helping each other has been our survival mechanism for thousands of years. It’s no different in the workplace: think of all the connections you’ve made since university or your first job. People have ideas, projects, opportunities, and a network of their own, which means it’s likely that you might be able to somehow help each other professionally in the future.
However, keep in mind that true generosity and a genuine desire to help is the only way to build valuable connections. Most people can spot self-serving interests, but to have a an authentic interest in others is one of the rarest people skills.
3. “Know where you want to go and make sure the right people know about it.”Meredith Mahoney
Social media platforms like LinkedIn have only increased our ability to connect and keep in touch with people beyond our addressable circle of contacts. By using it correctly, LinkedIn can allow you to put yourself in front of the right network of people. It’s the online equivalent of being in the right place at the right time.
Here are a few things you can do to boost your LinkedIn profile over time – try to do these for at least 5 minutes every day:
4. “My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score.”Harvey Mackay
Networking is a long term game, and the golden rule is to never expect anything in return. There’s of course an element of reciprocity, but the fact is not everyone will give back. Not because they don’t want to, but because people get busy, or simply forget. Regardless, burning bridges for trivial reasons isn’t worth it.
You never know where that colleague you enjoyed working with might be in 5 years, or when your previous manager who greatly appreciated your work might be hiring again. To progressively grow your network, why not:
5. “The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.”Bob Burg
Say you’re scrolling on LinkedIn and stumble upon a job opening. You’re not interested in it yourself, but instantly think of an ex-colleague you know would be perfect for the job
Still on the topic of helping others, a fantastic way to help your network is through referral schemes. Not only will you be helping a valuable connection, but you’ll likely be getting a reward, and a grateful friend that will keep you in mind in the future. A win-win situation for everyone.
At Sitka, we have our own referral scheme through which you could earn £300 for helping a friend. Find out more here and get in touch with us if any our vacancies could be interesting to someone you know.
We liked Karen’s personal approach to finding the best candidate. She spoke to them in depth, matching the person to the business and vice versa, rather than just advertising the role to an existing database of job seekers. The process was very efficient and well-communicated from start to finish.
I have been given an amazing opportunity to work for a well-established, respectable brand and all thanks to Sitka for the faith and hard work they put into supporting me
Sitka was honest all the way through and went above and beyond to make me feel prepared and ready for the interview. Everything went really smoothly and I had regular communication from Ita who made sure I knew everything I needed to along the way. I felt equally as important to the agency as the client and knew I could trust Sitka to represent me as a candidate.
I just want to say a big thank you to Ita for believing in me and being so supportive from the first LinkedIn message until I started my first week!
The experience of working with Sitka has been fantastic. They provide an excellent service with a professional and friendly approach. Karen kept me informed every step of the way, even sending through interview technique tips.
Sitka take time to seek out opportunities that will actually be a good fit for you. For the first time I felt a recruiter was actually working for me not just for themselves/the employer.
My recruitment experience with Sitka has been brilliant. I was dealing with Karen who is so friendly and attentive. She really listened to what it was I was looking for and put me forward for a role I am now in and love.
I felt like they truly cared and weren’t just trying to fill vacancies as quick as possible. Other agencies kept suggesting roles I had already said I wasn’t interested in. This wasn’t the case here, and they really wanted to find the right person.