10 Tips on How to Make Networking Events Benefit Your Career

10 Tips on How to Make Networking Events Benefit Your Career
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 04 August, 2022

If you want to grow your career, here’s an idea: networking. Building relationships and connections is one of the best avenues for career growth. However, not everyone realises the potential that networking can have on your career. With just a few nifty tips and insights about the different types of networking events, you can utilise connections to your advantage and develop the career path of your dreams.

Here’s everything you need to know about networking.

What Is Networking?

Networking is the activity of building connections for your professional life. It’s about meeting new people in your industry or profession and exchanging ideas, interests, and information. Similar to how to make friends, networking enables you to make acquaintances and relationships with people in a business casual setting.

To sum it up, networking allows you to build a community that shares the same professional intention.

Why Is Networking Important?

Now that we’ve established what networking is, it’s time to discuss why networking is essential for career growth. In Singapore, approximately 45% of professionals secured their current jobs because of successful networking. According to an HRD survey, this number is much higher than the global average of only 37%. The data shows Singapore professionals benefit more from networking than most other countries. Around 82% of Singapore professionals also agree that networking is crucial for career growth.

The study also found that 54% of the 1,000 survey respondents in Singapore received a job introduction thanks to networking. Around 52% secured a job because someone in their network worked for the company. Another 40% found a new work altogether because of networking.

Networking can open multiple doors for you, but not everyone knows how to do it correctly. Around 47% of Singapore respondents find it challenging to stay in touch with professional connections, with some admitting that they don’t know what to say or are uncertain about how to reconnect with those with whom they’ve lost touch. But these are issues you should resolve to unlock the potential that networking has in store for you.

What Are the Benefits of Networking Events?

Not only is networking good for your career, but it’s also highly beneficial to your professional life. You can build your skills, friendships, and confidence while networking. Here’s everything you have to gain from networking.

1. Access to job opportunities

The biggest draw of networking is the chance to discover more job opportunities. Recruiters often frequent networking events to find fresh talent. At networking events, recruiters mentally assess attendees to see how they carry themselves in social environments. If you make a good impression, you might find yourself with a job offer at the end of an event.

2. Career advancement

Networking is great for your overall career, even if a networking event doesn’t yield a job opportunity for you. Instead, you can gain multiple contacts from people in various fields. You might need their help one day, further proof of how networking can advance your career.

3. Meaningful connections

By just going to a networking event, you have the chance to connect with someone in your field or someone who might be going through the same career issues as you.

4. Stronger professional ties

Aside from meaningful connections, you can also build your professional ties at networking events. Widen your professional network with new contacts in all sorts of fields.

5. Improved communication and social skills

If you’ve noticed that your communication skills are subpar, then challenge yourself to do better. Go to networking events to improve your communication and social skills. Practise small talk with strangers while also making connections while you’re at it.

6. Potential business collaborators

Discover potential business collaborators and partners. You can be a financial adviser and find new contacts (and potential clients) in engineering or tech. You can be a business owner and find new contacts (and potential partners) in logistics and trade.

7. Exposure to new ideas and perspectives

We all live in a bubble of sorts, so networking events allow us to discover new ideas, information, and perspectives. See how the other side thinks. If you’re a small business owner, study how big businesses operate. If you’re in tech, learn how a tradesman thinks.

8. A boost in confidence

Not only will you enhance your social skills and professional network at these events, but you’ll also have a chance to boost your confidence. Months of isolation during the pandemic might have made you doubt your professional reputation and career, but talking to others might just give you the validation you think you deserve.

9. An increase in visibility

By attending networking events, you’re putting yourself out there. Professionals in your field will know your name as you increase your visibility in the industry. Don’t be afraid to make yourself known since everyone at a networking event is there for the same thing.

10. Community support

A network is a community, so by building a network, you construct your community – with community comes support. If you’re ever faced with a challenge in the future, you can seek out people in your network for community support and vice versa.

What Are Easy Ways to Network?

If you’re ready to start networking, there are several networking events and avenues you can use at your disposal. Here are the different types of networking events.

1. Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a great way to meet professionals in the same industry or who share the same interests as you. Clubhouse’s groups are designed to gather like-minded individuals, so you’ll already have something in common if you connect with someone on Clubhouse.

2. Twitter

Twitter is also one way to meet new people. If you share the same thoughts and insights based on each other’s tweets, you can reply to a tweet to message them personally to start your professional connection.

3. Virtual events

Virtual events allow you to get your foot in the door and get exposed to people in the same boat as you. You’re all likely at the same event for the same reasons. Collect contacts at an event and build your network.

4. In-person events, conferences, and mixers

In-person events might be the best way to connect as nothing can top real-life interaction. You can laugh, see each other’s reactions, and build a genuine rapport. Take advantage of in-person events, especially during post-pandemic times when real-life events are still far and few between.

How Do You Network?

Networking might seem daunting at first, but all jobseekers should understand that building connections take time. You won’t build a network overnight, so don’t stress about connecting with the right people or making as many connections as possible.

1. Be present.

Stay in the moment, and make acquaintances naturally. If you’re not a social butterfly, don’t be afraid to spread yourself around. It starts with small talk, asking a person about their profession, discussing industry insights, or even just talking about hobbies. Once you’ve built rapport, then you can start networking with confidence.

2. Dress to impress.

Look your best when you go to networking events. Dress in the prescribed attire, whether casual, business casual, business formal, or cocktail. Always follow the dress code to a T.

3. Keep your goal in mind.

What do you want out of this conversation? Keep the goals small and manageable. How do you want this conversation to end? Whether it’s the exchange of business cards or an agreement to meet up again soon, always keep your small goal in mind.

4. Look and sound interested.

Don’t approach networking as a job, but as an opportunity. If you appear bored with a conversation, the person you’re talking to will lose interest in building a connection with you. Appear interested, ask questions, and look genuinely invested in a conversation.

5. Ask open-ended questions.

It can be easy to run out of questions when you’re engaging in small talk, so focus on open-ended questions instead. The more open-ended the question, the more you have to talk about.

6. Follow up.

Stay engaged in your question and ask follow-up questions. And once you’ve parted ways with the person you wish to add to your network, follow up using the contacts in their business card so you stay in touch even after a networking event.

Are you excited to put all these insightful networking tips to good use? Visit JobStreet now, update your profile, and read more helpful advice in JobStreet’s Career Resources section. Get the app, available on App Store and Google Play, for easier access. Enhance your professional life, and # LetsGetToWork.

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