Networking doesn’t have to be an event where you meet people you wouldn’t normally associate with in order to further your career. Networking is not only about trading information but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.
We know that new job hunting can be exhausting and frustrating. So, if you’re a fresh grad who feels lost, someone who just quit his/her job and hunting for new opportunities, or you’re a university student who’s worried about his future. We’ve got your back, don’t worry, you’re not alone we’ve all been through this and we’re here to help you.
Unemployment among the young population in the MENA region is relatively high, with the youth’s unemployment rate reaching 23%, almost double the global average of 13%.
Networking isn’t a gift that you’re born with; it is a trait that you can acquire with the years. Networking is the act of marketing your skills through relationship building. How can you market your skills to earn a new job? How can you build a professional network? We’ll be answering these questions and helping you be on top of the game.
Good old days of career networking
Career networking is different for the current generations than before. Gone are the days of giving out printed copies of your resume, asking your relatives to help you get the job, and formal gatherings. Although, attending more formal events isn’t a bad thing (it can be very helpful)—but it’s not the only way to network anymore.
The current millennials have the advantage of a vast number of social networking sites that can be used to earn a new job. Even social media accounts are currently used for networking. You’re not limited anymore. Social media has also made its mark on career and business opportunities. Whether you are job hunting, seeking information, or insights, you can easily find professional contacts and career opportunities through online networking.
You have the chance to reach more people and explore more opportunities. If you’ve got the skills required, connect and network with the right people at the right places; get ready for a sparkling career.
Build your online profile
You need to start working on your professional online professional networking website very early; even if you’re a high school student you can have a LinkedIn account. This means that you need to start gaining experience and building skills at a very early stage of your life; through internships, student activities, part-time jobs,…etc. This will give you an idea of your strengths, weaknesses, skills, career preferences, and opportunities.
This can help you stay in front of people’s minds far more than business cards or emails, which are quickly filed away and forgotten.
Remember that your online presence is your own form of branding for career success.
To build a solid online career profile you’ll need:
- A professional resume
- A persuasive motivation letter
- Set of skills
- Certificates to prove your qualification
Do you have everything ready? You can start building your online profile on professional networking websites. You can use LinkedIn, Wuzzuf, Bayt, Career Advancers and there are many more websites that you can use for networking.
Make sure you complete your profiles and keep them up to date. Always use a professional picture -avoid your picture on the beach or with a group of friends-. Add all the skills you’ve acquired and make sure you add the responsibilities and your duties in every experience.
Go out and about
When we say that you need to attend events; we don’t only mean attending job fairs and CV writing workshops. Countless events are happening around you; that may be related to the field or industry that you’re pursuing you can start by attending these. Are you an automotive enthusiast? look for a car show or exhibition, are you looking for a teaching position? you can attend school or university fairs….etc.
Attending events of all kinds is a form of active professional networking: workshops, conferences, or even webinars; is an effective way to network. Networking can be done everywhere and at any time, so don’t limit yourself or shy out. You need to start connecting with people from outside your circle; and the more people you know, the more likely you are to connect with someone who might know of a job or a good person for you to meet
Meetup is a great app that you can use to meet new people and build a strong professional network. You can either join a community or build one where people who share the same interests meet and network. You can join a couple of meetups that you might find interesting and who knows who you may run into?
Go the extra mile
Is your profile on sites is up-to-date and professional? Are you regularly attending networking events?
You can take your networking game up a notch, how? Consider registering your domain name e.g. yourname.com and either directing it to your LinkedIn profile.
Or taking it one step further and building yourself a personal website, using GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing tool you can link your website to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You’ll be able to cover multiple platforms which will allow you to reach more people and more connections. You can show off your work, portfolio, or resume on your website.
Remember not to share anything online that might embarrass you later and make sure that you broadcast the same message you would like to send to your future employer. After all, first impressions are everything, even if they are digital.
What comes around goes around
Networking isn’t a one-way street. If you come across an interesting article or a relevant job opening, be a helping hand and share it with your network. If you help someone with a connection that results in a job offer, you’ll likely have two grateful people: Both the person you referred for a job and the person who hired that candidate will be grateful.
Meanwhile, try to build strong relationships with your colleagues. So, even after you quit your job or move somewhere else, you might need a recommendation from a previous employer or your colleagues might refer you when they find an opening that suits you.
Remember that when you give, you’ll get …
The problem for many job seekers is not in understanding the importance of career networks but in the execution of networking. Remember that networking is an ongoing process that takes time and effort, and it is not something you do only when you are looking for a job. Most importantly remember that networking is relationship-building, and you build your network by going out and meeting more people.
Don’t be shy about connecting with people you’ve met in person on social networks. Doing this will help you stay on top of the networking game.