Networking offers many benefits for both your personal and professional life. It can boost your chances of employment, increase the number of your industry contacts and provide new business opportunities.
Person-to-person networking is one of the most powerful tools you can use in your job hunt. RICS offers surveyors many opportunities to meet new people at events such as the upcoming RICS Recruit Live. As a jobseeker, it is essential for you to exploit every chance to make a good impression when you meet someone new.
Here are some tips to help improve your networking skills.
Before attending any event, you should research the venue, speakers, sponsoring companies and the organisers. If there is a list of attendees available, you should research them as well. Check their LinkedIn profiles and note which people you want to make a point of speaking to.
Have a pitch
At a networking event, the worst question to fumble your answer to is “So what do you do?” Practise your response beforehand. Knowing what you want from the event is important too, especially since the next most common question you’ll face is “What brings you here today?”
Whenever you get a business card, take a minute to write down something memorable about the person or conversation so you can refer to it later. There’s no point building a network of contacts only to forget who’s who. Similarly, remember to bring your business cards – you don’t want to be forgotten either.
Go in alone
While it may be nerve-wracking to go to a networking event by yourself, doing so will force you to interact and meet new people. If you attend with colleagues or friends, it can be difficult to break away and you may miss out on meeting the right people.
After an event, make sure you take time to follow up new contacts via email or LinkedIn. The messages you send should be personalised; try to mention something that you discussed at the event or an article they might be interested in.
Don’t ask for favours
Like any relationship, you want to let things grow naturally instead of forcing it. Keep in touch with your contacts and find ways to demonstrate your value. Don’t immediately ask everyone you meet about openings at their companies. Instead, make them aware that you’re looking for new opportunities and then be patient; when an opening comes up, they’ll let you know.