Professional networking is one of the most valuable things to have a successful career. To understand why networking is valuable, first let us know, ‘What is networking?’ The answer to this question in simple terms would be – networking is about building and maintaining long term professional relationships that are mutually beneficial with the people you meet.
Now, if you are wondering, ‘is it complicated?’
No, it isn’t! It is as simple as talking with people you meet, maybe at a college event, conferences or some other places. You get to know them, let them know you. Furthermore, you can cement the relationship by understanding their views and goals, along with sharing your own. These professional relationships prove to be beneficial in numerous ways in your career. For example, professional networking helps in finding a job, getting valuable market information, staying with the trends, or it can also lead to a potential business opportunity.
Let’s understand in detail how professional networking helps graduates find jobs.
Professional networking plays a vital role during a job search. The reason behind this is when you are graduating, you don’t have much experience, and the possibility of you getting lost in the crowd during interviews is high. This is the time when the right reference can provide a boost to the chances of you landing the job. Or, consider if you are looking for a career change. Your professional network can provide you with connections in the domain that you are looking to get into. Or, they can even provide you with job leads at good organizations. When you take out the time to build meaningful connections with the people you meet professionally, it proves to be valuable networking.
You might be thinking, ‘When to start networking?’ and ‘How to make contacts?’
Ideally, the right time to start networking would be before you take admission in a management program. The reason for this is when you network with management alumni from your list of prospective business schools, they can provide you with information that would help you choose the right program and business school.
But, if you have not started it before taking admission, do not worry! You can begin networking afterwards, as the connections you built in the classroom often prove to be lucrative a few years later. The reason for this is, your classmates are likely to work at high-level positions in top organizations, or they can run their own business. Besides, you can find a potential business partner in your classroom.
Now, coming to the other question, ‘‘How to make contacts?’
In this section, business schools prove incredibly beneficial. It’s because most B-schools host or organize numerous networking events, conferences, among other things through the school year. They also provide career services that help you connect with alumni. You just need to figure out the right event that would be beneficial to your career objectives.
Once you have finalized the event, you need to research the people that you would like to connect. Since most of these events would be filled with many people, you have to be prepared. You should dress professionally, print your business cards, and then start with small talks – basically a short elevator pitch about you. And, always remember to exchange business cards as you would need them further.
After you are done with these events, you can start making connections. Send out cordial emails to the people you want to build professional relationships. But, you should not attach your CV in the first mail itself. Your mail can consist of your introduction, where you meet them, your background, and the purpose of getting in touch with them. Remember to thank them for their time and include your contact details.
After the initial mail or telephonic conversations, you should arrange a meeting. In the meeting, you should be prepared with the questions you want to ask and your notes. Make a point that this meeting is to forge a connection, so don’t end up asking for a job straight away. After the meeting, it would be nice if you send out an email, thanking them for their time. Following these simple steps would help you build long lasting professional relationships.
Apart from the people you meet at events or conferences, your business school’s alumni network is something that would help you when you are about to step into the professional world. You can connect with the relevant alumni, and discuss their career journey. They can provide you with advice on your career growth. Sometimes, they can even provide you with internship opportunities that would help you understand the exact working of your potential job profile.
At Krupanidhi School of Management (KSM), one of the mba institutes in bangalore, we offer two of the most respected management courses PGDM and MBA, to develop professionals with all the necessary skills to master the future.