When it comes to finding a job, job networking is almost crucial these days. Networking is also considered the best method when it comes to hiring, gaining a reference, and making professional connections. Here we’ve gathered the best networking websites, as well as tips and advice from experts, to get you started on your networking journey.
What is job networking?
Job networking involves using your network of contacts to find a job quickly and easily. This network can include people you know both professionally and personally. With the growth of online social networks, your network of contacts can be even bigger than that of job seekers a decade ago, and for that reason it’s something that should definitely be utilised.
Where can I network?
If you find that your contacts are of little to no help to you, you can still attend social events and meetings targeted towards certain types of businesses, industries, and careers to help expand your network. Another way to build a larger network of contacts is to attend job fairs that are sponsored by the media or trade associations.
Another way to network that’s becoming more and more popular is online job networking. You can create an account on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to contact and be noticed by employers or companies who you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to talk to in person.
10 reasons why you should be networking
Job networking is an invaluable aspect of looking for work and building professional relationships.
Here are 10 reasons why you should be networking.
You can have friends in the business, with no strings attached
You’ll have friends who understand you and what you’re going through, can keep you motivated and happy, give you ideas, listen to your complaints, have meals with you, keep you safe, and even stop your ego from getting out of control.
It can expose you to new opportunities
These could include anything from joint ventures, speaking and writing gigs, partnerships, client leads, businesses or assets being bought and sold, prime domain sales, job opportunities, and more.
You can get advice from your network, and give advice in return
Your network can push, encourage, and advise you to keep you on track. You can also do the same for them in return! If you only occasionally get advice from your network then you’re in significant net profit from your efforts.
You and your network can exchange help
Your network can boost your traffic, reputation, or sales, help you build a community, share news and information, introduce you to people you’d like to meet, and even get you out of a rut if you find yourself in one.
It can have a positive influence on you
If your network is filled with positive, happy people then you will become like them and they will have a pleasant impact on your work and life. You can also look up to and model yourself on successful people within your network to improve your own performance.
It can build your character
Networking in different types of environments for several networks can turn you into a person who can go up to anyone in a room and have a chat while talking business.
It can help refine your proposition
The more you talk to people at networking events, the more you can use it as a focus group to further develop the services you provide to your clients.
Your confidence will increase
An increase in confidence is a direct cause and effect of building your character. You’ll feel less nervous and therefore able to go up to just about anyone.
You can begin to master your business pitch
By talking to a number of people at networking events, you’ll be able to learn how to ask questions and pick quickly what skill set you can talk about and convey in 30 seconds.
It can widen your circle of influence
THe longer you’ve been networking, the wider your network will become. You can manage your own LinkedIn group or create a summit attended by senior leaders from global organisations.
Before we begin: How to network effectively
Being able to network successfully is a great asset in the professional world as it allows you to seek out incredible opportunities. Effective networking, on the other hand, requires hard work and persistence amongst other essential skills and traits. Here are 10 ways anyone can become an effective networker.
Be enthusiastic about yourself, your job, and the company you work for. When you enter a room, hold your head up high and tell yourself that you have just as much right to be there as everyone else. Show passion when explaining your product or service to clients, and have pride in the company you represent.
Be organised and prepared
Plan and prepare before you attend events. Find out who’s going to be there and what they’ll want to talk about, how to get there and back, what the format of the event will be, why it is being held, what to wear, when it begins and ends, why you’ve been invited and what’s expected you, and finally, where the event will be held (including parking and public transport options).
Ask the right questions
Asking the right questions at an appropriate time can get you better answers and create more business or job opportunities. Ask intelligent, insightful, and interesting questions that will help you to get to know someone better or connect with them on a deeper, more personal level. Ask others what they need and if you can provide, do so.
Be generous and giving
Don’t think about the rewards, think ‘what’s in it for you?’ Networking is about building cordial relationships with other people, which wouldn’t be possible if people didn’t like you. Give others your full attention by listening carefully and being genuinely interested in what they have to say.
Be reliable and trustworthy
Deliver assignments on time and abide by what you say. If you’ve booked an appointment at a specific time, for example, make sure you get to the venue on time. If you promised to call or send an email, do it and do it fast. It’s also important to respond quickly to emails and voicemails.
If you seen an opportunity, persist. Hear ‘not yet’ instead of ‘no’. It’s important to face all situations with a positive attitude and grab any opportunity that you come across.
Pay full attention and listen carefully to what the other person is saying. This could enhance your business or increase opportunities. You should also listen more than you talk, so that you can learn more about the other person. Remember that 80% of conversation is listening and 20% is talking.
Get your timing right
You should know when to talk and when to listen, when to enter and exit a group, and when to follow up and at what intervals.
Be nice, and have good manners and etiquette
You should be friendly, open, courteous, polite, and respectful to all. When you’re nice to others, they’ll be nice to you too. Good manners and etiquette, like focusing attention on others, listening and responding to what they’re saying, making introductions, and including other people in the conversation can make them feel valued and at ease.
Have a clean criminal record
As a networker you’ll undoubtedly have an influence over those in your network, as well as yourself. So it’s important to make sure you’re clean and clear!
Job networking sites to get you started
LinkedIn isn’t the only online professional network! There are lots of other sites out there that can help you get started on your networking journey. Here are 50 popular job search and networking sites that aren’t LinkedIn.
Shapr is an app that gives you a daily dose of inspiring people to meet. It’ll help you find the most relevant and like-minded people who can help you grow both personally and professionally.
Airtasker is a community marketplace where individuals and businesses can do a number of things, like outsourcing tasks, finding local services, or hiring flexible staff in just minutes, either online or via mobile.
The Guardian has a range of professional networks, which are community sites that bring professionals together. The things they do include sharing ideas, celebrating success, and exploring work challenges.
Fiverr is a marketplace for creative and professional services, such as graphics & design, writing & translation, programming & tech, etc. Simply add your service and watch the jobs come in!
With Locals Networking, you can build your own referral network in your community. You can choose the local businesses or individuals you want to network with.
Meetup is the world’s biggest network of local meetup groups. You can find or start your own meetup group and get together with other people in your area to learn, do and share something that makes a world of difference.
Business Professionals / Entrepreneurs
Perfect Business is a network for business experts, investors, and entrepreneurs with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurship and mutual success. It has all you need to start and grow a business, such as videos, events, articles, and business plan software.
PartnerUp is a community that connects small business owners and entrepreneurs and helps them find the expertise and resources they need to start and grow a business. Members can also connect with potential business partners.
EFactor is the world’s largest network for entrepreneurs, including more than 25,000 vetted investors. It gives its members the people, tools, expertise, and marketing to be successful and make connections.
Founders Network is for entrepreneurs and tech company founders. The site fosters professional and personal relationships among its members. You can learn from your peers and pass on your knowledge to others.
Australian Investment Network connects entrepreneurs and angel investors. Investors can list their services and projects can be browsed locally, nationally, and internationally.
Ryze is a business network where users can organise themselves by their interests, location, and current and previous employers. It mainly focuses on new entrepreneurs.
Wine, Design, and Engineering Professionals
SOMM’s List is a network for wine professionals around the world. You can create a free profile that includes your work experience in the wine industry, awards, testimonials, etc. to open up a world of opportunity.
Coroflot is a place where designers can find jobs and connect with other designers. It’s also a place for design companies to find the right people to join their team.
At Creative Heads, you can find hundreds of the best jobs in the video game, animation, visual effects, and software/technology industries. Job seekers can connect with employers with a free profile.
Krop is the most trusted job board for the creative, design, and tech industries. It connects the world’s top talent with the best companies.
Individuals, communities, and businesses can use GitHub to build software in a collaborative environment. It has a community of over 12 million developers who can contribute to more than 31 million projects.
The GrabCAD community is made of up mechanical engineers who help each other to develop great products faster. There are free CAD models from over 1 million engineers.
Silicon India is a fast-growing professional networking site. With some navigation, you’ll find good professional communities, jobs, groups, and career-related info.
Kreeo is a knowledge-based network for individuals, companies, and institutions that are able to build their own networks of knowledge, which include tools like newsfeeds, forums, content sharing, and more.
Plaxo is the one-stop destination for professionals. You can connect and stay in touch with other professionals around the world via this portal.
MHPN offers practitioners the chance to participate in two interdisciplinary programs: 1) MHPN practitioner networks, and 2) the national online professional development webinar program.
Sermo is the number one social network for doctors. They can help their peers solve challenging cases, talk to them about real world medicine, as well as vote on their opinions on medical and healthcare issues.
HealthTap is a medical expert network for doctors who give health advice to people 24/7. There are 95,000 doctors available online.
The MLACP is a professional network for Chartered Physiotherapists with a special interest in medicolegal work. Its events and continuing professional development programmes keep members up to date with healthcare practice news.
Physio First is an organisation representing physiotherapists in private practice. It allows individual practitioners to interchange their professional skills and ideas that encourage the highest standards of clinical physiotherapy practice.
LaMPS is a professional network for leaders and managers of physiotherapy services. It provides support, access to various expertise, mentoring, a forum, and assistance with all aspects of delivering health and social care.
Kaggle is the largest community of data scientists who network with experts from related fields. It also offers competitions, datasets, customer solutions, tutorials, and a job board.
ResearchGATE is a scientific network connecting researchers across the globe. You’ll be able to look for research partners, collaborate with other scientists, as well as search and read journal articles.
Epernicus is a social network for scientific researchers, where they can post their profiles, network with other researchers, and ask questions.
Job Seekers / Employers
MyWorkster is for graduates who have an interest in local networking career expo events for alumni. Job seekers can meet employers and find a job, while employers can search for a suitable job candidate.
Beyond.com is a career network that connects job seekers with companies looking for the right candidates. Job seekers have access to a network of over 500 industry-organised talent communities so they can find a suitable job.
Jobster is a platform for networking with employers who are offering jobs while you search for work. When you find a position, you can add the employer to your network and find out more about the position. You can also create a profile.
HirePurpose offers jobs and career advice for veterans who want to transition from military service to a civilian career. It matches the right talent with the right opportunities so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Executive recruiters can use The Ladders to post jobs and search candidate resumes online. This helps job seekers looking for a great job lead and recruiters looking for their next great hire.
Upwork is the largest freelancing network online, with millions of registered freelancers and clients. It offers plenty of opportunities in almost any niche.
Freelancer is another large platform, but it hosts competitions where you go up against other freelancers and demonstrate your skills to potential employers.
Staff.com can be used by freelancers and it’s a good alternative to bigger freelance networks. In other words, it provides freelancers the chance to find steady work if and when they need it.
Academia and research
Academia is a networking site for academics to share their research papers. Scholars can upload their publications and CV, talk to others in scholarly communities, and choose who to follow.
Mendeley is an open source reference manager and academic social network that helps academics organise their research, collaborate with others, and find the latest research papers.
Zotero hosts groups where users can share their research sources, connect and collaborate with other scholars, as well as discover the works of others.
Piirus helps you connect with other researchers from academic institutions and research centres. It’s a quick and easy tool for making contacts and finding collaborators.
Community of Science is an international resource for information and opportunities relating to medicine, health, and scientific research funding. You can also connect and collaborate with other researchers.
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network
The LTER Network is a collaborative effort that involves over 1800 scientists and students who are investigating ecological processes.
BetterLesson is a place where educators can connect and share more effective curriculum. It also offers educators a personalised coach to empower them to drive their own professional learning.
Classroom 2.0 is a social networking site for educators who are using or are interested in using Web 2.0, social media, and collaborative technologies in the classroom. You can also find and connect with other educators around the world.
Discovery Education’s ‘Discovery Educator Network’ is a community for educators who are looking for live and online collaboration, information, and professional development in leadership practice and education technology.
SYP is Sydney’s number one professional network with more than 5000 members. It hosts monthly events and quarterly parties at exclusive venues in the city.
Business Chicks is famous for its fab events that bring like-minded women (and men) together, including celebrities! It also has an online network, where members can connect, collaborate, swap ideas, and share stories.
Engineers Australia is the professional body for engineers in Australia. It’s also the national forum for the advancement of engineering and the professional development of its members. It holds events both nationally and internationally.
According to the experts…
We’ve contacted the following professional networking experts to give you the best personal advice when it comes to networking. Read on for some valuable networking tips.
Storytelling is the key to building a vibrant professional network. Human beings crave connection, and stories allow us to connect with each other in a deep and meaningful way.
To be an effective networkers, you need to be memorable and stand out from the crowd. You need to be able to talk about what you do, how you do it, and why it matters. In other words, you need to be able to tell a powerful, compelling story.
Within the last 10 years, I’ve attended and hosted many networking events. I’m so passionate about it as I can attribute the origin of many of my accomplishments to networking and knowing ‘the right people’. Having started my career in IT&T 8 years ago, I’m now on the Board of 2 not-for-profits and co-founder of Diverse City Careers (DCC). DCC has grown much quicker than I ever could have hoped and much of this has been through the network connections I have made over the last few years.
Networking can often be thought of as an activity outside of the workplace with people you haven’t met – however, networking is also valuable within your own workplace. Getting to know people across various business functions of your organisation can help you leverage connections to progress within your current organisation.
Networking doesn’t just help you with building your connections to fast track your career or grow your own business, it also gives you valuable skills in everyday life. These include increasing confidence, active listening, conversational skills, as well as learning new things by meeting new people.
Most people make the mistake of trying to make something happen. My best networking experiences have been those that allowed me to get to know a person instead of forcing a sales pitch to get my needs met.
I am more about transformational experiences than those that are solely transactional. I have met some amazing friends from networking. I think if I was only interested in how it could benefit me, I would have lost out on some amazing personal and professional relationships.
I always think it’s best to identify mentors – individuals who have certain skills that you want to obtain. When I first began in non-profit management, I sought out leaders in the field who could serve as guides and resources. They not only gave me insight into the work but they also introduced me to their network.
I also believe professional associations are another wonderful opportunity to meet others who can help you in expanding your network, especially for employment. When I typically meet someone, I usually send an email right after I’ve met them to ask if we could meet for coffee or lunch to talk further. If they are unable to assist, they might have someone in their network who can.
I think it’s imperative that, just as you water grass to make it grow, the same applies to relationships. Trust is the key in relationship building, and that takes time. People need to trust that you are who you say you are. In order to do that, you must take the time to get to know someone.
Another valuable key for me was volunteering. My first job was the result of volunteering on weekends. I didn’t realise I was being watched and my work ethic along with skillset opened the door.
Dr. John Demartini
Tip 1: Be Where People Are
Where are people going to be? Business functions? Social functions? Chamber functions? Civic events? Charity events?
Since hermits often fail in business, get out amongst the crowds, and start engaging conversations. Few people will be coming to your house to get into your business. Maximise your exposure and make sure you have plenty of ‘face time’ with people and do it often. Be where people are. That is where the golden paycheques are in business.
Tip 2: Introduce Others to Others
Develop a host mentality. Do not wait to be introduced. Introduce yourself and take the initiative to introduce others to each other. Hosting shows strong leadership skills and many people find that magnetic. Put your hand out first to shake another. Shake firm, not wimpy. SHake full hand, not finger hand. Work the room. Don’t stay in one place. Have a goal of meeting at least seven people and engaging a conversation with them.
Since others move around, keep good eye contact. This lets people know you have a magnetic self-worth. Take charge of your space. Make sure anyone around you is included in your conversation with others. Don’t be shy. If you were hosting a party what would you do? Go do it.
Tip 3: Offer Value
Bring value to any potential relationship or it will be short-lived business wise. Bring personal, professional, or leadership value to a networking contact.
Bring a future value to them. This is the key in establishing relationships. Help them get what they want and they will help you get what you want. If people perceive value first in you – by you taking an interest in them – they will perceive value in what you do on an increasing basis. Give value first, everything else second.
Maree Harris, PhD
Networking is not about going to networking events and making and sealing deals. It isn’t either about telling as many people as possible about ourselves or our business and handing out loads of business cards. It’s also not something we do once or twice and then give up on if we don’t get new clients. In fact, its primary objective isn’t even to get more clients. That may surprise many people.
Networking is first and foremost about making connections and building relationships with people – the more targeted to our work and high quality the better. It’s about staying connected to these people over the long term, developing a mutually supportive relationship where we can get to grow, like, and trust one another. What happens, as we authentically engage in getting to know, like, and trust these people and they us, is that we begin to build our personal brand, our profile, and our reputation.
No amount of money can buy those three things. We have to earn them and networking is one of the most effective ways of doing that. Only then will we be ready to do business together, refer clients to one another, and work on joint projects together. Networking is as much about what we can give as what we can get.
Building a network of people who believe what we believe and whom we nurture and support is invaluable to our professional lives, our careers, and our businesses. The tangible and intangible ‘wealth’ in such a network is invaluable. That’s why I say: Our network is our net-worth.
These are the people who will help us grow our business and our careers. There is a lot of truth in the adage that it’s not what we know that is most important, but who we know.
The people in our network can open doors for us. They can:
- Introduce us to people we don’t know who can advance our careers;
- Connect us to people who under normal circumstances would not take our calls;
- Provide business opportunities we would otherwise not get access to;
- Talk about us to people who may be interested in joint venture work;
- Recommend us for those ideal jobs we didn’t even know were in the offering;
- Offer professional or business advice;
- Provide support through a crisis; and
- Advise on how to handle a difficult client interaction or business deal.
Building these types of connections and relationships require well-developed interpersonal, communication, and people skills – what are now called soft skills. It is the fact that many professionals have spent much more time developing their technical skills and not paid enough attention to these soft skills that see so many anxious and fearful of networking. They therefore miss out on an exceptional opportunity to enhance their professional lives and build their professional brand and reputation.