In a workforce that, on average, changes jobs nearly every three years and career paths 5-7 times in a lifetime, less emphasis is being placed on choosing a job that you intend to stay in forever. Particularly at the beginning of their working lives, young people are moving from job to job on a regular basis, defying the age-old mantra that a career should be for life. In reality, a career is more like a long, winding river that will take you in directions you never thought you’d go, landing you at a destination that only becomes visible once you turn a corner and take a plunge. That is not to say, however, that you should not take those initial steps down your first career path lightly. The people you meet and skills you learn could end up significantly impacting your life in the long run, as well as your immediate feelings of happiness and fulfilment. To make this initial choice a little easier, here are seven steps you can take to help you find a career path that is right for you. Take a Career Test Career tests might seem a silly way to determine what job you should look for. After all, how could ticking a bunch of boxes on a computer program possibly demonstrate anything other than the most basic wants and needs? Who are they to say that you would make the perfect hairdresser or software engineer? If you’re completely stumped for inspiration about even what sector you would like to work in, however, online career tests can be a great way to get you thinking about the areas in which you could feasibly work while taking your personality, experience and values into account. The 123 Test has you make associations with various tasks and provides you with a list of suitable jobs at the end. The Redbull Wingfinder doesn’t give you specific career advice but breaks down core elements of your personality that could be invaluable when considering how suited you may be to certain careers. On the other hand, O*NET Interest Profiler provides a comprehensive overview of how your skills and interests can intersect with your aspirations. You can take or leave the results these quizzes give you, but sometimes having your strengths typed out in front of you can clarify your goals to yourself. Assess Your Options Whether you do this following a career test, or after a period of self-reflection, you need to take stock of your options. Write down every option available to you, and every path you would be interested in pursuing. Go through each of the options available to you, eliminating and highlighting those that you are instinctively averse to and are intrigued by respectively. By the end, you should have a manageable list of potential routes you could take, most of which should contain a combination of your interests, skills and values. It’s also important to research the jobs you put in your shortlist. The qualifications required by one may put you off, while the trajectory promised by another may inspire you. Read case studies pertaining to interesting fields to give you an idea as to where you could end up down the line. Having a long-term career goal may be more of a motivator for you than a short term one. Network You’ve researched careers that interest you, and now you have finally settled on one or two that excite you more than any others. Now, you need to look at this list and ask what connections you have to these different careers. Do you know someone who works in that sector? Someone who could perhaps make an introduction or give you further insight into a career that interests you? According to research compiled by Social Talent, although only 7% of applicants come via referrals, they account for over 40% of successful hires. Statistically speaking, you have a much greater chance of securing an entry level position in a field that interests you if you are introduced via someone with a connection to that employer. Networking isn’t only beneficial for getting your foot in the door, however. It’s important to speak to people currently working in, or with knowledge of, the field(s) you would like to enter. They may have insider information unavailable online, or give you guidance as to how you might approach getting a job. Whatever your goals, it’s worth going out and meeting people who can help you through this difficult decision with their own experiences, insight and network in that field. Get Experience One of the most useful outcomes from networking successfully would be the opportunity to gain practical experience in the area you want to work in. From the perspective of an employer, they would be more likely to hire someone with a proven interest and existing ability in their sector. From your side, you would be able to see first-hand what the day-to-day of such a job entails and decide whether or not it’s for you. Internships are a great way to gain experience in a hands-on working environment. Not only will you have the opportunity to complete tasks similar to those you might be set as an employee, but you will make some invaluable contacts who could potentially help you secure employment later down the line. There are lots of great internship opportunities out there, but make sure you are not being exploited. Some companies take advantage of the passion and inexperience of interns and have them work with little to no compensation, and no guarantee of a job at the end of the programme. Another way to gain experience would be to ask someone if you could shadow them at work for a couple of days, so you can see what they are tackling on a daily basis, as well as meet their co-workers and convey your enthusiasm and initiative to a potential employer. Find a Mentor Mentors are an invaluable way to gain insider knowledge of an industry, as well as a potential fountain of tailored advice to help you succeed in whichever career you end up choosing. For more information on how to find a mentor, you can have a look at this Forbes article that breaks down the steps of finding and securing the right mentor for you. Make a Career Path Plan You’ve identified an area that interests you, researched it thoroughly, spoken about it with contacts and perhaps even secured some practical experience in that field. The next step is to create an actionable plan that lays out all the steps you need to take to achieve your professional goals. Whether this involves changing careers later in life, taking risks or going back to education to secure further qualifications, create an actionable plan that will allow you to step from one to the other. Here’s a great guide on how to structure a solid career path plan. No one’s career path unfolds in an uncomplicated straight line. In fact, there will be jobs that exist in the future that we couldn’t even imagine in today’s society. The best approach is to have an open mind, strong initiative and the willingness to be flexible as you work towards your goals. Expect the unexpected, and never be afraid to deviate from your plan if it feels right. As they say, ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’
“What do you think of garden gnomes?” This was apparently asked of one Trader Joe’s candidate in an interview . A silly, irrelevant question for a job in grocery stores, you might say. However, questions like these that seem, on the surface, ridiculous, often provide more insight into a candidate’s aptitude for the role than you might initially think. No one ever knows exactly what questions are going to be asked in an interview. However, there are trends that show up in every list of most common interview questions, which we have divided into five categories. We’ll provide examples for each, as well as an overview of how you should consider approaching them to showcase yourself in the best possible light. Informational Questions “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” “Why are you leaving your current job?” “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” These tend to be the questions that open up an interview, giving you an opportunity to provide a brief bit of background information about yourself, as well as an overview of your aspirations, providing the interviewer context about you and where this role fits in with your career plans. This is not to say, however, that you should approach these questions with any less preparation or panache than others. You should phrase your answers as a pitch of your career; linear, like a story, and this job as the next step that slots perfectly between the past and the future. It wouldn’t hurt, of course, to slip in a few specific achievements that you want the employer to know about, opening up the floor for further questions on those later. While you should phrase your answers in a way that presents this job as an ideal opportunity, you should also be honest – you don’t want anything you said in a moment of panic to come back to haunt you if you are hired! Company-Specific Questions “How did you hear about the position?” “What do you know about the company?” “What do you think we could do better or differently?” To separate the wheat from the chaff, employers will frequently ask interviewees to demonstrate their knowledge about the company they are applying to. Stumbling at this hurdle will almost certainly mark the end of your candidacy for the position! If you don’t know much about the company you’re interviewing for, they will question your passion for what they do and your ability to do the most basic of research. Interviewers want to see that not only are you passionate about their company’s brand, but that you are able to assess their current infrastructure critically and constructively present feedback using your prior knowledge and experience. Small start-ups in particular look for creativity in their employees, and definitely would like to see how you could contribute to company development from the outset. Behavioural Questions “Tell me about a challenge or a conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.” “Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?” “Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?” To get an idea of how you handle conflict, your interviewer may ask a similar question to one of these. Often, they will start with ‘give me an example…’ or ‘describe…’. The idea is to get a sense of what your personal strengths are in pressurised situations, as well as how you structure your response to problems. There is a technique to handling such questions, named the STAR Method. As set out by Al Dea, the founder of CareSchooled and a learning and development coach, STAR is “helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” i.e. giving your response a clear structure and minimising the opportunity to ramble. S – Set the scene. What details do you need to share to ensure your example is clear? T – Task. What was your responsibility and/or goal in this situation? A – Action. What did you do to resolve the issue and complete your aim? What steps did you take? R – Result. What was the direct result of your actions? What did you accomplish? You can read more about the STAR Method here. These questions could also expand to more personal ones, such as the personality types you tend to clash with, as well as your own strengths and weaknesses. Your answers to these questions can provide insight into how you might gel with the existing team, and whether the company culture is necessarily a suitable fit for you. Puzzle Questions “How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?” “How many pennies could you fit in this room?” “Why are manholes round?” These are questions of the same breed as “what do you think of garden gnomes?”. Questions that appear completely unrelated to the job at hand, and that there could be a million ways to answer, none of which jump out as being the ‘correct’ one. That’s because the hiring manager is not looking for a correct answer, but one that is reached in a logical, methodical manner. If you articulate your thought process out loud, the interviewer can see how you are approaching the problem using existing mathematical abilities, as well as common sense and general knowledge. They also reveal a substantial amount about the personality of a candidate. Your approach to the questions and ability to think on your feet speaks volumes about your character and may be a crucial insight to the employer as to whether you’d be up for the day-to-day challenges that are part of the role. A calm-headed, logical candidate may handle the tennis ball question by demonstrating awareness of the measurements needed to perform the calculation, such as the volume of a tennis ball and the length, width and height of the limousine. An even more impressive candidate may turn questions back on the interviewer, asking as to whether there are any people inside the limousine at the time and how big the seats are. However you choose to approach the puzzle at hand, maintain a cool demeanour, showcase your understanding of maths and problem-solving and use rational logic to show you could come up with a rough methodology to reach a correct solution, even if you do not. Pressuring Questions “Are you under/overqualified for this job?” “Why should we hire you over someone else?” While these questions may appear a little forthright, and definitely intimidating, they actually present a brilliant opportunity to sell yourself to the employer in a brazen way that thus far you may have had to tiptoe around. Use questions such as these to summarise your core strengths and the value that you would bring to the company, emphasising that you truly are the perfect fit for this job. Be careful not to overly criticise your imaginary rivals, as that’ll present you as petty – rely on your own positives in your pitch to convince the interviewer that you should get the position. BONUS – Ask Questions Back! It’s no secret that the key to finishing an interview well is to walk in with a few pre-prepared questions to ask the hiring manager when prompted. These should demonstrate your curiosity, prior research and genuine desire to know more about the company and the role. Perhaps more importantly, this interview is an opportunity for you to gauge whether this position in this company would be the right fit for you. Therefore, be sure to maximise this opportunity to answer any questions you still have by the end of your time with the interviewer. Here are some examples of questions that could provoke interesting, informative answers from the employer: “What’s your favourite part about working here?” “What can you tell me about the company’s plans for growth in the future?” “How would you describe the company culture?” So, there you have it – an overview of the most common questions that could arise in an interview. If the specific question is not listed above, it is guaranteed to fit into one of those five categories. Prepare to handle questions from each of those angles, be aware of what exactly they want to see from each answer, and you’ll knock it out the park.
There are advantages and disadvantages to any job, and temporary contract positions are no exception. Finding work as a temp can be the ideal solution to both career and/or personal requirements, or simply fill in the financial gaps while you search for permanent position. In honour of the Spice Girls’ tour Dublin leg this weekend, here are some of the reasons you should definitely consider temping…with a little help from our favourite 90s girl band! 1. ‘A Day in Your Life’ – Gain New Experiences You've gotta live beyond your limitations, yeah And keep your dreams alive Even though you're feeling this frustration, yeah You've gotta push it all aside You've got to look to the future, yeah Before the future is here Qualifications are all well and good, but proven experience is an invaluable card to play in any permanent job application. If you’re looking to move into a new career, or want to stand out from the crowd in the mind of a hiring manager, it’s impossible to underestimate the importance of practical experience on your CV. You could learn how to use a new technology or software, a different filing system or even how to adapt to diverse personality types. All new experiences are valid and could provide useful fodder for anecdotal answers in interviews and will put you in a great position when you next apply for a permanent role. 2. ‘If U Can’t Dance’ – All About That Flexibility Can't you just feel the groove? Why don't you move? It's easy, can't you see? One of the best advantages of temporary contract work is the flexibility a short term posting offers you. Not having a permanent job (and salary!) can be scary, but there is so much to gain from a shorter stint at a company. If you’re in the process of changing careers, undergoing shifts in your personal life or simply don’t know what to commit to, temping is a great way to earn money and continue building your resume until you find what you’re looking for. 3. ‘Move Ove’r – Speed Is Of The Essence Next phase, next stage, next craze, next wave Let me tell you 'bout a thing, gotta put it to the test It's a celebration, motivation generation next A lengthy recruitment process can be completely draining, as outlined in this Forbes article. The longer it takes for a candidate to progress from interview to offer (or rejection), the more demoralised and underappreciated they can feel. There are no such issues in the temp world. Often temporary positions need to be filled as a matter of urgency, so there’ll be no long, drawn out interview process or extensive waiting period. This works in your favour not only in terms of reducing the anxiety typically induced by the process, but also in that candidates who may not land a permanent position due to lack experience may be successful securing a comparable temporary position. 4. ‘Never Give Up on the Good Times’ – Temping As a Career Never give up on the good times, living it up is a state of mind (Never give it up, never give it up no oh oh) Never give up on the good times, gotta believe in the love you find (Never give it up) For some, temping is a wholly satisfying career choice. The flexibility of contracts and the wide variety of responsibilities, atmospheres and teams you can encounter as a temporary worker are perfect for some workers. Although this is more common in the tech sector, the consulting field offers some benefits that similarly fit well with certain personality types and lifestyle choices. 5. 'Viva Forever’ – Get Paid While You Job Search! Viva forever, I'll be waiting Everlasting, like the sun Live forever, for the moment Ever searching, for the one If you’re between jobs, changing career, or entering the workforce for the first time, temp work provides considerably more financial security than shift work or applying unsuccessfully to permanent positions while unemployed. Although you could be let go without much notice, you’re being paid a regular wage (sometimes more than permanent workers earn!), maintaining a good cash flow, and will only find it easier to land positions once you’ve got experience under your belt. So, if you’re looking for more experience, flexibility, speed or simply a placeholder while you search for a permanent position, temporary contract work could be perfect for you! At Sigmar Recruitment, we place both permanent and temporary workers with companies across Europe. If you are looking for temporary work, don’t hesitate to email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On my commute home from work, I overheard a woman say to her friend “I don’t want to leave my job, so I plan to get a job offer and that will make my current boss offer me more money”. I know I shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but surely people shouldn’t be applying for jobs with intention of using an offer to leverage more money in their current role? This really caught me by surprise. Do people really go through the rigmarole of job seeking just to use the offer to stay in their current job? I decided to investigate this further to see if it really is a feasible plan. What I discovered was 3 reasons why you definitely shouldn’t follow in that lady’s footsteps. 1. Wrong Attitude – Bad Start From the get go the idea of applying for jobs with the aim of using a job offer to leverage your current pay is just poor judgement at best. If you want more money, you should have an honest conversation with your superior and if the conversation doesn’t go the way you hoped, you should apply for jobs that will offer you the pay you desire (with the intention to accept the job and leave your current role). 2. Burning Bridges Receiving a job offer is significant. The company who offered you the role clearly like you. They’ve taken the time to meet you and learn about your abilities and skills. They want you (over everyone else they interviewed) to join their company and because you have been eager through the recruitment process, they assume you want to join their team as well. This is until you suddenly come back to tell them you have accepted a counter offer. Now they know that you were never interested in their company, you only cared about money. You’ve essentially burned your bridges with this company, which could be damaging later in your career. You never know when your paths may cross again, and it could cause all sorts of friction to your work, not to mention awkward tension. 3. Ending Up In The Wrong Job (Regardless Of Which Offer You Accept) There are two outcomes to this scenario, you accept the counter offer or you don’t get a counter offer, and you must accept the job you’ve been offered. Either way, both are the wrong job for you. Let’s start with the counter offer, your boss is now acutely aware of your interest to jump ship and work somewhere else. Your counter offer may have been your boss’s reaction to the shock of losing you and premeditating the stress of finding a replacement. Once this shock subsides however, your boss will only remember the fact you tried to leave and this could affect you in a number of ways. After realising you might leave, your boss will now focus more attention on developing junior staff, this way if you leave he/she will be more confident in your subordinates. Then when the next promotion comes up you won’t be considered and when there are cut backs, it’ll be you that will feel the brunt of it. The second scenario is that you don’t get a counter offer. After all the effort you made to get your job offer to approach your boss and negotiate more pay, your boss shakes your hand and wishes you the best of luck. I imagine this would be quite devastating, but what’s more devastating is starting a job you never really wanted in the first place. You were job hunting for all the wrong reasons and now you have to start a job that really doesn’t suit you. Essentially, it’s not wise to job hunt to seek a counter offer. It’ll make you look disloyal and money hungry to both your current boss and to the company you applied to. If you want more money from your employer, ask for a pay raise and if you are denied, consider searching for a new job, with the aim to accept an offer and leave. Your goal should never be to receive a counter offer. I just hope the woman I overheard on the train didn’t go through with her plan. It looks to me like this can only go badly. I’m sure it is possible however for a counter offer to work out but to apply for jobs to seek out a counter offer, is not the right approach for climbing your career ladder. Let us know if you have ever accepted a counter offer. Do you think it’s a good approach?
Winter has come and gone, and summer is finally upon us. With September typically being the busiest month in recruitment and an onslaught of new roles opening up for applications before autumn, many restless workers start thinking about initiating the job hunt over the summer months. It’s a daunting prospect to say the least, for many. Leaving a familiar workplace and steady salary for the unknown is never a sure bet. Luckily, our good friend Beyoncé is on hand to provide five sure-fire tips to ensure you get your job search off to the best possible start (and be in a good mood while you do so!). What’s It Gonna Be (DANGEROUSLY IN LOVE, 2003) The first question you should ask yourself is exactly what it is you’re looking for by searching for a new job. Is it a change in routine? A desire to try something new? A career change, perhaps? Whatever your reasons, make sure you know exactly what it is you’re looking to gain from the change, as this could well be a question you’re asked in an interview. It’s also important you’re aware of what you want so that you can streamline your applications and ask appropriate questions of your prospective employers to ensure that your move is as smooth and constructive as possible for your career. Hard to Say Goodbye (DREAMGIRLS, 2008) Most people’s first instinct is to immediately start looking for roles outside their current place of work. However, it is often worth considering that there may be opportunities worth exploring internally. If you enjoy working for your company but are looking for more out of your time there, perhaps consider asking around to see if there are any positions opening up in your office, or even other sites, if it’s a large organisation. You’ll find the transition much smoother while still undergoing significant changes in your day-to-day work life. As Queen B sings, it’s “hard to open up that door. You're not sure what you're going for…when you leave your current employer.” (Okay, maybe not that last bit). Upgrade U feat. Jay-Z (B’DAY, 2006) You’ve pinpointed what you want from your next job and that you want to move away from your current company – well done! The next step is to get back to basics and update your CV to suit the new roles you’re applying to. If you’ve been in the same job for a few years, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of doing this, so it might be worth brushing up on some of our top CV mistakes to avoid before you get started. It’s a great idea to revisit and brush up your LinkedIn profile too, particularly if you are applying to roles via the site. It’s easy to forget how important first impressions can be, no matter how experienced you are. So, remember to “Audemars Piguet” your CV and don’t bypass this step! Scared of Lonely (I AM…SASHA FIERCE, 2008) Job searching can be an unnerving experience when you’re doing it on your own. Never fear! You can meet with a consultant to help you through the process. At Sigmar, our consultants are experts in their field and will be ready to help you through the entire process, from application to offer. We’re here to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you, like Bey, are scared of being “the only shadow [you] see along the wall.” Best Thing I Never Had (4, 2011) Sometimes, blessings come in the form of disappointments. If you’re not successful in a job application, don’t be downhearted. The right job will come at the right time, even if it may not feel like it right now. The important thing is not to lose sight of your goals and keep your spirits high. Blast Beyoncé on repeat and never give up! So, these are some ways you can channel the Queen of R&B’s unrelenting energy and determination into your job hunt this summer. Bey herself once said “I am a human being…I don’t have control over every situation” – as mere mortals, how can we possibly expect to either? All you can do is follow the steps listed above, stay organised and motivated and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Make sure you enjoy the Summertime (feat. P-Diddy) and you’ll be Jumpin Jumpin for joy before you know it.
Your CV is the make or break of any job application. The minute a hiring manager see’s one of these mistakes, your chance of getting called for an interview decline rapidly. If you have any of these common mistakes on your CV, you should remove them straight away. Gaps Hiring managers like to see exact timeframes on CVs. Dates on your CV should include month to month time frames, as opposed to year to year. Often people will avoid putting dates on a CV or will try to be vague about the dates. This can look suspicious to employers, especially if you have gaps. It’s better to be honest and give reasons for any gaps instead of trying to hide them. State clearly that you were made redundant or you went travelling. The person reviewing your CV will appreciate this and it will give them clarity about the gaps. Graphics If you have graphics on your CV, you should leave them out. Things like complicated formatting and decorative pictures shouldn’t be on a CV. They just tend to make it more difficult for employers to read. Keep things simple, clear and detailed. However, if you are applying for a role that requires graphic design skills, consider making a portfolio of your work. You can send this along with your CV to showcase your creative skills . Forgetting to Include Contact Details You may just assume that sending your CV via email is enough for an employer to contact you, but often CVs get forwarded around and saved on hard drives/desktops so the original email you sent could get lost along the way, along with your contact details. Always put your email address and phone number on your CV. Using Personal Details It’s good to show your personality through your CV and give the hiring manager a sense of who you are but some personal details are too personal for your CV. Avoid putting your relationship status on your CV e.g. married, divorced. It’s irrelevant information and it could affect you negatively. When you apply for a job you should be confident that your CV ticks all the hiring mangers boxes. This won’t happen if you include these mistakes so if you’re applying for jobs right now, take another look at your CV and make sure you’re happy with it.
Are you a recent grad ready to take on the corporate world? Are you currently weighing up all the options in terms of what direction and career path to take? Then you should be seriously considering a career in sales. Software sales is one of the hottest industries to work in at the moment and Dublin (frequently referred to as the Silicon Valley of Europe) hosts a wide range of international tech companies who have set up shop here and are hiring for sales positions. Not only are these tech companies super cool places to work by their nature (casual dress code, on-site bars for post-work pints, treadmill desks, chill-out areas equipped with massage chairs, hammocks and beds… need I go on) but they also offer an unparalleled opportunity to kick-start a very lucrative career in sales. With many of these companies in their start-up phase here in Dublin, these tech companies tend to be very flat and transparent organisations and offer huge opportunity to develop business acumen and to progress within a sales career relatively quickly. Sounds great, but how do I know sales is for me? If you are a highly driven and competitive person that enjoys reaching and achieving goals, then sales offers you the means to let that streak shine through. Sales offers you the challenge you crave while being lucratively rewarding and offering a clear and defined career path that is completely in your own hands to achieve. So how do you get your foot in the door? Below is a brief overview of the things that are going to aid your application and help you stand out. Education: Almost all of these tech companies now look to university results as their first gauge on candidate applications, irrespective of experience and level of position. For an entry-level sales position you need to be coming out of college with a minimum of a 2.1 BA/BSc/MA/MSc degree or higher. Experience: For entry-level sales roles it is somewhat expected that your experience is going to be limited but you wouldn’t believe how relevant some of the experience you have is going to be! Any fundraising or charity work demonstrates core sales skills such as self-motivation and the ability to quickly build a rapport, as does working to targets in a retail environment or doing a part-time job in a call centre at the weekends for some extra cash. Be proud of your experience and where possible try to gain some sales focused experience or internships. Your willingness to work for free or work your way through college demonstrates not only your independence and eagerness to learn but also your tenacity and motivation – crucial skills needed to succeed in sales. Extra-curricular activities: Don’t knock how important your hobbies and interests are. Participating in team sports shows your ability to work as part of a team and also shows your competitive streak (again both key factors in signaling success in sales). If you have an interest in economics and current affairs it shows your ability to take on more numerical and high-level problems. Do you volunteer in your spare time? This demonstrates your more human side and your ability to engage and develop relationships with people.
In last week’s blog we looked at 5 Tips to Build Your Professional Network, this week we want to take a look at why networking is so important to your professional development. It can be a daunting task for those who wouldn’t consider themselves overly social, but the rewards to your professional and personal growth are endless. 1. Get Help and Be Helped One of the most significant parts of building a professional network is the opportunity it presents you to ask others for help when you need it and to help other people in your network. It happens to all of us at some point when we need an extra pair of hands to help us solve a problem. All jobs present bumps in the road and it’s great to have a professional network you can lean on in times of struggle and vice versa you can lend a helping hand when your network need help. 2. Be Inspired by Ideas Networking can be so beneficial to our creativity and inspire us to do more in our work. If you’re feeling a little lost or not as pumped about your job as you once were, go to a work event or conference and start talking to people! These people can have a similar role as you or a completely different role, or just work in the same industry. Don’t focus on what level they are either. Different levels of experience will bring you all kinds of different insights. It doesn’t matter what role they are in or what level they are, they will always share something new with you. It’s a great way to come back to the office with new and exciting ideas. 3. Build a Good Reputation Building your network will get you known among those in your industry. More visibility is a great way to build your reputation. Getting yourself out there and being noticed by your peers will help you make a name for yourself. Word of mouth can go very far and if you make enough good impressions a level of trust for you and what you do will follow. This will stand to you if you decide to apply for a new role. You may not know your interviewer directly, but they may have a connection to you through a mutual contact, who has nothing but positive things to say about you. 4. Grow your Confidence Career advancement isn’t the only benefit to networking. It can help with your personal growth as well. By continually putting yourself out there and meeting new people and stepping out of your comfort zone on a regular basis, will help you to build invaluable social skills and self-confidence that you can take with you anywhere. The more you network, the more you’ll grow and learn. 5. Gain New Friendships The last benefit doesn’t impact your professional career, but it doesn’t make it any less significant. Spending time socialising and building your network will naturally lead you to making friends. Some of the strongest and long-standing friendships have started as work connections. The people you network with will be like-minded with similar aspirations and struggles as you so it’s not unlikely that a work relationship could develop into a friendship. We have heard it time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important to your career, but networking can benefit you personally just as much as it can professionally. Spending time networking will be very worthwhile and the best part is that it’s never too late to start investing in your network.
We have heard it being said time and time again, advancing in your career is just as much about who you know as what you know. That’s why networking is so important, but networking requires more than just sending connection requests on LinkedIn and swapping business cards. Networking is a skill and when mastered, can be very beneficial to your career progression. Here are some key ways to improve your networking skills. 1. Ask to be Introduced If you know of someone who you would like in your professional network, but are not sure how to approach them, start by seeking out a mutual relationship. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but not by sending them a connection request. View the persons profile and scan through your mutual connections. Ask one of your mutual connections to strategically introduce you. This can be done online via video chat or by them arranging a meeting. 2. Find Common Ground This is the best way to make a lasting impression on someone. Find out a bit about the person before your introduction or if your introduction isn’t pre-arranged and you don’t know them, ask questions to get to know them. Questions like “Did you travel far to get here?”, “Did you see the match last night?”, “Have you been away on holidays yet?” etc. to casually find out their interests. Usually one of their answers will strike a chord and you can go from there. The best way to really connect with someone is to find that common ground. 3. Never Start by Asking for Something If you’re starting off your relationship with this person by asking them what they can do for you, the relationship is destined to go nowhere. No one likes to be asked for a favour, especially by a stranger. Start by offering them something, a way you can help them. If you dive into a conversation asking for something the answer is more than likely going to be no but if you offer a way you would like to help them, they are more inclined to accept. 4. Don’t Collect Business Cards and LinkedIn Connections A lot of people assume that they have a good network based on the amount of business cards they have stuffed in a drawer or how many LinkedIn connections they have. With this, I would say it is quality not quantity. You will go a lot further and have more opportunities in your career having a very focused network. Carefully focus on building meaningful relationships and not just a bank of contacts. 5. Follow Up Probably the most important part of networking is to follow up afterwards. This is where a conversation with someone can become a meaningful relationship. After your initial meeting, call them up a day or two later and follow up on the chat you had or connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a message. It’s never too late to invest in your network. It can be daunting but it can be so worth while. As said by Deena Baikowitz - Chief Networking Officer at Fireball Network, "the worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all."