Building relationships takes time and certainly more than a one-off LinkedIn connection request. If you are on the look-out for the next step on the ladder of your finance career, an active commitment to networking is a must. Here are a few tips you can take on board to get the ball rolling:
Keep your finger on the pulse
The financial services sector is in a state of flux: from advancements in technology to shifting customer demands, knowledge truly is power in the finance landscape. Keeping up to date with industry trends can ensure you have valuable information to share with new industry contacts – after all. If you want to be part of their professional network, you’ll have to give them a reason to maintain a relationship.
As well as making for engaging conversation starters, the information you share could be key in influencing their strategic business decisions. In any case, positioning yourself as a source of industry knowledge will develop your reputation as an important connection in their circle.
Identify key events
Social media may have facilitated communication with fellow industry professionals, but you shouldn’t use that as an excuse to hide behind a screen. If you are to secure a new role through networking, you must be prepared to attend key events in the 2019 finance sector calendar.
It’s no secret that people naturally trust those they know over strangers: by making an effort to meet face to face with senior decision makers, recruiters and well-seasoned specialists, you will effectively move two squares ahead of the anonymous applicants when a vacancy opens up at your dream firm. Making time for conferences, exhibitions, seminars and workshops will expose you to a wealth of valuable contacts who will keep you in mind if you make a good impression.
Solve problems instead of pitching
When it comes to networking, most professionals will prepare a 30-second elevator pitch that summarises their skills, experience and the mission statement of the company they work for. There’s nothing wrong with this approach but remember that your pitch is not the be all and end all of networking – especially if you are looking to get a new job out of it.
Most of the time, finance professionals you meet will be interested in understanding not what you can do but what you can do to help. With this in mind, you should aim to keep the conversation anchored around their current business challenges and the problems you can solve through your skills as opposed to listing off your achievements.
Don’t forget to follow up
With a bank of meaningful industry connections, you have a foundation of contacts that can prove useful in your professional journey - however, keep in mind that a business card exchange is not enough to secure your next role. The point of a professional network is to nurture it, if you’ve hit it off with a key industry contact, remember to follow up sooner rather than later.
A connection request on LinkedIn is a good start, but the key is to grow your network by building meaningful professional relationships. The next step is to set up a meeting via call or email and ensure you keep a steady flow of communication – be it through a message or relevant posts.
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