Networking Tips: Why Connections Can Boost Your Career

Networking Tips: Why Connections Can Boost Your Career
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 10 March, 2022

In recent years, retrenchment and cost-cutting programs have significantly impacted Singapore's labour market, making it difficult for people to secure jobs.

Job seekers also found themselves adjusting to new, largely virtual, methods of finding opportunities. To bag their dream roles, applicants need to strengthen their profile online and build their network. A solid network of industry connections can help increase their chances of finding their ideal career.

New to networking and unsure where to start? Read on to get a primer on networking and learn how to make quality connections for your own network.

What is networking?

Networking is a means of developing professional contacts. By reaching out and connecting to people in your chosen industry, you create a network that can help boost your career. The people you meet at a networking event may well be your new boss or introduce you to a potential employer.

Before the pandemic, in-person networking events were a dime a dozen, with job seekers and industry veterans alike looking to create connections in their respective fields. Today, networking events have mostly moved online for everyone's safety. As Singapore slowly eases restrictions, there may be in-person events in the future, but expect that virtual events are still more commonplace.

Whether you're meeting people in person or meeting them online, you must present your best self and make a good impression. Remember that the bridges you build today may be very advantageous for your aspired career path in the future.

Why is networking important?

At the height of the pandemic in Singapore, unemployment was at an all-time high. It peaked at 3.5% in October 2020, surpassing the rate recorded during the global financial crisis. Job hunting, in particular, was difficult for fresh graduates, as only 7 in 10 were able to find permanent employment last year, down from 81.7% in 2019.

With a volatile labour market, it is more crucial than ever to build your career connections and, consequently, find better job roles. Networking that is done properly and purposefully can open you up to new opportunities and enrich your existing industry knowledge.

Good learning environment

Hearing the ideas and opinions of your peers can help open your mind to new insight and helpful practices. You might learn about new industry trends and issues that could be beneficial to the work that you're currently doing. Exchanging stories on how successes are achieved can only help the industry thrive.

Gives your profile a boost

By attending networking events, you get more visibility as a professional. This is your chance to pitch your capabilities to people in the industry and show them how valuable you are in the workplace. The more you get used to presenting yourself while networking, you'll notice that you also get more confident.

Entryway to new and better opportunities

More visibility will get you noticed. Individuals who attend networking events may be looking to hire someone like you or can connect you to someone who will.

Connection to high-profile individuals

Industry vets also attend networking events and are usually invited to speak about their achievements and experiences. Make the most of those interactions and learn from the best of the best.

Long-term career management

Job stability may not always be easy to attain. By keeping a viable network of career connections, you'll have possible lifelines available when the worst happens in your current role.

Networking tips for the pandemic era

Build your online presence.

As virtual platforms are more in use these days, what better way to improve your profile than to build your presence online? Improve your social media pages. Make sure to update your JobStreet profile, too. You must come across as professional and ready for business.

Choose an appropriate headshot - no selfies please! -- to create a strong, powerful image. Then, write an enticing headline to encourage viewers to click through. The headline should mention your area of expertise or desired career path. Think of this as a way of presenting yourself as a good fit for the opportunity you want. This is one of the first things that people see when they visit your page, so make it worthy of their attention.

Make sure to update your profile regularly to reflect new activities, skills or roles that you've achieved recently. An update to your profile may send out a notification to your network and puts you on their radar.

Grow your circle intentionally.

While it is important to network with many people, it's more important to network with therightpeople. Make sure to connect with professionals that can further your career. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, you ideally want to build networks with:

  • People who hold the same job title as yours. You can share your similar experiences and best practices with each other.
  • People who hold job titles higher than yours. These are the people who will most likely hire you.
  • People you have worked with and have interacted with regularly. These people may know about openings in other departments or companies.
  • Any corporate recruiters or headhunters who work in your field

Look to industry experts.

Industry experts and thought leaders in your sector usually have a public profile that can be easily accessible to you. Follow their content and connect with them to keep yourself abreast of the latest trends, innovations and other updates happening in your industry.

You can also read about your trade association or industry organisation to check whether they have interesting events or webinars. People who attend these events are likely interested in the same things you are and can be good additions to your network, as well.

For aspiring business people and entrepreneurs, for example, the Singapore Business Federation 's list of Trade Associations and Chambers might be a good place to start.

Exchange and listen to ideas.

Show your network what you are capable of by sharing your thoughts and insight. At a networking event, don't be afraid to ask thoughtful questions. It can spark inspiring conversations with your peers. If writing is one of your skills, feel free to blog about your work experiences and share them with your network. As with all good discussions, varying viewpoints can lead to new perspectives and may even create new ideas.

Nurture your connections

Networking doesn't end once you log out of the webinar. Make sure to keep in touch diligently with the people in your network. Check in on them every once in a while to maintain your connection.

It doesn't even have to be work-related all the time. Sometimes, a simple “How are you?” can be enough. The pandemic has greatly highlighted our need to connect with others, and reaching out with empathy and care is more valuable than ever.

It may be a challenge to keep track of everyone you've met. Check out our free networking template to help you keep all the important information in one place.

Check out our Career Resources page for more tips on how to take your career to the next level. It also offers expert insights and advice that could help give a boost to your career journey.

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