On average, an individual will likely change around 6 careers in a lifetime. A change, whether big or small, requires the ability to adapt. The sooner a person can adapt to this, the sooner they are likely to get on the path to a career track.
So, what makes this process of adapting easier? This is where a person’s professional network comes in. Irrespective of where you are in your career or what your career is, having a professional network is crucial in the long run.
But before one can build a professional network, knowing how to build one is important. For it is essential not only to build a professional reputation but also forging long-term relationships with like-minded individuals, professionals, and other experts in your relevant field.
How Does Networking Help My Career?
To the naked eye, professional networking seems a heavier term. But in reality, it simply refers towards building a working relationship with like-minded individuals and other professionals from your field of work or study.
Constructing a professional network is all about building a relationship that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Irrespective of the career phase you are currently in, a professional network is a series of long-lasting contacts that are crucial in the long run.
An average individual is known to change atleast 6 careers in a lifetime. A career change is a big thing and an equally bigger adjustment. However, having a professional network at your disposal is perhaps the most vital tool you can have when you’re looking for a new job, looking for new skills, or aiming to boost your credibility in the industry.
The benefits of having a professional network are several. Here is a quick overview of how a professional network allows you to tap into your tools and resources when you need them the most
- Easy And Enhanced Access To Job Opportunities
- Confidence Building Exercise
- Raise Your Professional Reputation
- Gain New Skills
- Establish Yourself As The Ideal Candidate
- Network For New Ideas And Information
- Forge Long-Lasting Professional Relationships
- Career Advancement
- Provides You With A Fresh Perspective
Building A Professional Network In Australia
Building a professional network whether in Australia or anywhere in the world involves a series of steps. But in order for these steps to work, you first have to understand where and how each step contributes to network building.
Networking building requires you to make consistent efforts to position yourself as the ideal candidate for a job you see yourself doing shortly. Having professional networking provides you with the right set of tools and resources you can tap into at a time when you need them the most.
As we mentioned earlier, irrespective of your line of work or your current career phase, a professional network helps everyone. To make it easier for you, here are 4 professional networking tips for building a successful career in Australia
1. Make Time For Networking Events (Events, Expos, Conferences, Career Fairs)
As formal as they may sound, networking events down under are a treat. Literally! The majority of the networking events one is used comprise endless guest speakers going on and on about how the same thing over and over again.
Irrespective of their achievements, half of the lot don’t end up staying for the second half. But that isn’t the case with networking events in Australia. There are dozens of networking events going around every week. So, even if you miss one, know that the next event is around the corner.
These networking events could be as formal as a conference or as simple as an afternoon in a beer garden. No matter the format, attending such networking events in Australia allows you to meet with professionals in your field and other like-minded individuals, both of who will be extremely crucial to your career going forward.
2. Keep Your LinkedIn Profile Up-to-date
Thanks to LinkedIn, creating and maximising your network has now become easier. A strong LinkedIn presence keeps you on the radar for other professionals to see while simultaneously keeping the right people under the spotlight for you to focus on.
But LinkedIn, similar to plants, needs to be carefully looked after and nurtured from time to time. If left unattended, they tend to wither away slowly. The best way to keep this from happening will require you to invest a certain amount of time to update your LinkedIn from time to time.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimised accordingly for search engines. You can research new trending keywords that are relevant to your field of study and profession. Make sure you have a detailed look at your LinkedIn profile atleast once a month.
Doing so will help you keep track of your contacts and help you gain valuable insight into the current market and everything recruiters look for. All this will eventually help you build a strong professional network, locate a job, develop expertise, and be a part of forums and discussions.
3. Not Everyone Is A Professional Contact
Professional networking is a skill everyone needs to have in their arsenal. However, it can get overwhelming at times particularly when you are bombarded by contacts from all around. In such scenarios, you must be able to segregate between the contacts to map out the professional ones.
To make the segregation process easier, here is a list of all the right contacts that will add to your career growth and provide you with dozens of learning opportunities followed by relevant professional contacts shortly
- Colleagues (Former And Current)
- Study Peers
- Professors/ Lecturers/ Teachers
- Family Members From Your Industry
- Relevant Industry Associations
- Sporting Teams
- Social And Interest-Based Groups
4. Listen, Ask, And Then Communicate
You’re probably wondering if we got the order wrong. But when down under, you’ll slowly realise that that order is right just the way it is. While there is no rocket science behind this networking tip, it’s just our way of saying that politeness goes a long way irrespective of where you are.
Whether you are a native English speaker or had English as your first language back in school, Australian English takes a while before one could fully understand what is being said. It often takes people years to master and speak the language, but listening and understanding are relatively easy.
The more you listen, the more you get what is being said. It is about time we made full use of our ears to listen more effectively. Ask if anything was left out or is unclear to you at any point. The key is to communicate as effectively as you can.
When we say communicate, we refer to things such as asking for recommendations, being proactive in talking about possible opportunities, asking for help, and even following up with possible employment opportunities.
The Bottom Line
If you fancy cricket, you must be familiar with the phrase “one brings two.” Based on the same phenomenon, network building follows the same principle. Every contact you build ultimately connects you with another contact.
The important thing you need to know is that just getting started goes a long way. While networking expansion and contact building are key steps towards building a successful career, getting started well in advance is crucial.
Once you have got the formalities out the way, you can focus on nurturing and slowly expanding your network until you have yourself a whole tree, with each branch catering to different sectors of a highly dynamic modern-day market.