What is networking?
Networking is building professional and social relationships in order to develop contacts in your industry. The people you meet in your industry could often help you find a new job or offer you about your career. However networking is not something that happens over night. Building your reputation within the industry takes a lot of time and effort, and if you’re looking to become a freelancer, networking will be an essential part of your career.
How to start networking
One of the best ways to start networking is to do it online. Setting up a profile on one of the social network sites like Facebook or LinkedIn will be the first step to show yourself to potential employers and people in the industry. Connecting with your classmates, colleagues, lecturers and previous employers could potentially help you find new opportunities in the future. Another great way to start networking and building relationships is to actually do it face to face. Attending different social events like conferences and workshops will allow you to talk to some of the people from your industry in person and possibly build lifelong relationships. Meeting people face to face will allow you to make a great first impression which is not something you can really do online. That’s why when attending social events you need to mind your manners! Nobody likes that obnoxious person who cuts in the conversation just to talk about themselves. You should listen to the conversation and wait for you opportunity to join in. Be genuine and don’t necessarily try to sell yourself to everyone you talk to. A good thing to do before attending a social event is to research the attendes if you can. Find out who they’re working for and what they’re working on at the moment and maybe prepare few questions for them.
When attending a networking event you should make sure you don’t put any pressure on you or have a strict intention of finding a job or talking to a certain person. Those social events can be quite intimidating especially for people who are new to the industry. That’s why you should go to those events with an open mind and try to make new friends rather than going in with a strict agenda making the whole experience uncomfortable.