“It’s not what you know but who you know.” To succeed in your career, get the job you want and reach the top, networking is key! In this article we give you our BEST networking tips.

The networking gap between men and women

First of all, let’s clear something up: the difference in the way men and women approach networking can have a big impact on career opportunities. Research shows that women are less effective at networking than men. Studies show that women are hesitant about capitalising on social ties, and are careful to not ‘over-benefit’ from their connections. They usually poorly demonstrate and underestimate their professional contributions.

Women look at their network from a social point of view. Unlike men, they do not ask themselves the question “How will this benefit me?”. Men place less emphasis on personal relationships, and make networking decisions on instrumental motives.

This difference between how men and women tackle networking contribute to gender inequality in the workplace. We are here to change that. Starting with our best networking tips, to giving you the opportunity to implement them during our Career & Network Events. 

Networking tips you can use today

In today’s world, networking is essential to a successful career. You develop long-term relationships with people that could be beneficial to getting the job that you want. Forbes gives 10 reasons why networking is essential for your career. But before we dive into the (more or less) obvious importance of networking, here’s our best networking tips that will actually benefit your career:

1. Reach out to people you’ve lost contact with

You don’t necessarily need to connect with new people to network. Make an effort to enquire how your colleagues’ business is going, or reach out to old friends for example. If you show genuine interest, you don’t really need to have a specific reason for reaching out.

2. Think about the long-term

You don’t plant a crop when you’re hungry. You anticipate being hungry, so you take action now. It’s the same with your career, you never know when you might need someone. When you create your network think of these questions: What are my unique selling points? Where do I want to get to? Who do I need to connect to for that? What do THEY need help with? 

3. Be someone that others can turn to and have courage to ask for guidance!

The hybrid working model is here to stay. That means we have to find other ways to connect, engage, and network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire and look up to for guidance and support. And do the same if the roles are changed! Be someone that others like to be around, work with, and turn to. 

4. Be clear on why you want to build a meaningful connection

You can network successfully when you are clear on why you want to build a meaningful, long-term relationship. And why it won’t be a one-sided relationship. Maximise your education and workplace networks, approach senior role models to mentor you, and give your time and expertise through volunteer work or guest lectures for example. When you cannot invest money, invest your time. Join all the events you can, connect with likeminded people, and make sure to reflect carefully on your experiences, as they serve as development opportunities. 

5. Stay relevant

Make it your business to stay up to date about current trends within your field of interest, your industry, and your organisation. With this knowledge, you can ask intelligent questions on speaker events or comment on blog posts on social media for example. You also will always have something to talk about when at a social gathering. When you are interested in what others are saying, it will not go unnoticed. 

Source: Forbes

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Why should you network?

We shared our best networking tips with you, but why should you even consider networking? If it’s not clear by now, here’s what Forbes shared about the importance of networking:

The first reason is that it’s a way to exchange ideas and information. Without listening to what other people have done and what they have to say, you could never tell how much you know. The success in your career is mostly linked to how much information you have gathered over the past.

Second, it makes you noticeable. When you publicly seek for business, people will notice that you have the capability to make yourself relevant. If you can stand out in not only your expertise, but also in how you present yourself to the world, opportunities will arise.

This brings us to the third reason. When people start noticing you, doors to new opportunities will open up. While networking you meet new people, potential clients, or people senior to your career. Meeting them could be a stepping stone that brings your career to the next level. What’s there to lose? Worst case scenario: you meet people that you only have a nice conversation with.

Networking can land you that amazing first job as a starter. But how about changing your path a couple years in? The fourth reason is you can reassess your qualifications. Talking to that one person about how they got to where they are now? It provides you with in-depth insight on how to make that step yourself. With the right network, you can bring your career to new heights.

Meeting the right people and creating your own windows of opportunity… How about improving your creative intellect? A simple conversation could give you the insight that leads to a great breakthrough in your career or work. Sharing ideas with like-minded people can unleash the creative talent each one of you has.

A network also provides you with an extra resource library. You could browse the internet for your questions, but what better way to ask your own network? This platform that you create provides you with updated information on the latest career trends, relevant to you.

What if it’s not information that you need? What if you lack the financial aid? Or don’t know how to effectively manage your challenges? Good networking could get you support from high profile individuals. They could mentor you themselves, or link you to the right financial support.

Network = net worth. Developing your career is a long-term, ongoing process. Your contacts influence your growth in status and pave the way for better opportunities in your career. People that are in top positions got there not only by hard work, but also by networking!

Practice makes perfect. Grow your self-confidence by interacting with like-minded people in your career! This doesn’t happen overnight, but every time you do it, you get better! Isn’t there a better feeling than that?

Networking is giving and taking. Someone might hand you just the opportunity that you needed, but remember, if you want to develop long-lasting relationships you need to give back too. This way you are going to build the career you want and deserve!

The difference between how men and women tackle networking contribute to gender inequality in the workplace. We are here to change that.