Key Points on “The Value of Networking for Job and Career Development.”

“Network with the one person who can open doors of opportunities for you.”

Hello readers,

Do you understand the rudiments of networking?  

I invited the country head, HR lead at Accenture Nigeria on the “Dear Graduate Community” to train members of the community on the value of networking for job and career development. Her name is Lara Yeku.  She shared her story on how she got jobs through her network and the network of her friend.

I reached out to Mrs Lara on LinkedIn inviting her to facilitate a class and she agreed. It was a thing of joy for me. The class was a huge success and members of the community were actively present at the fixed time and interacted with the trainer. Lara’s vibe is positive and extravagantly contagious as her session was on fire  (if you know, you know. lol).

This blogpost summarizes her session, the discussions and knowledge gained on the topic.

The Power of Networking:

Networking is an exchange of information and ideas between individuals or group of persons that share a common interest. 

Help comes sometimes through networking. This is because the people in your network (inclusive friends) can help you achieve your goals.

People strategically, intentionally and deliberately get the jobs they desire through networking. 

Key strategies to Networking Effectively:

  1. Have a game plan and a vision for your career

This helps you stay intentional while networking. Why do you network? Network with people who are significant in value creation and will help you in your career goal. Find out and clearly articulate your networking goals. In setting your career goals, ask yourself these questions:

(a) what do I want to achieve in my career in the next 3-5 years? 

(b) who are the people I need to know that can help me achieve these goals?

(c) what associations can I join to help me achieve my career goals

(d) who are the people within my community and age group that can inspire me?

  • . Create a networking strategy

What is your networking strategy? Have a clear action plan on what to do and how to go about it. Your strategy should start with you looking at your reality. Review your current situation. Identify the gaps.

3. Get a simplified introduction

Get an elevator pitch or well- articulated introduction that will help give you the result you want. This could be online or offline.

First impression is important. 

Creating an impactful and engaging elevator pitch:

1. Salutation (greetings). Give a compliment.

Example:

“Hi,

Good afternoon. I hope your day is going well as planned? 

I spent a great deal of time looking up your company and I’m indeed blown away by your you, your company, your team and most of all, your achievements.”

2. Say something exciting about yourself. Your personality, interests or strengths. You can also share your success story. Showcase yourself as a “giver.”

Example:

“I am a finance enthusiast with strong interest in financial analysis and I’m passionate about business reporting.

I’ve used my financial skills to give monthly financial reports. 

I look forward to helping an organization focus on their key business indices using my financial report skills.

I’ve helped organizations do ……”

3. Close with a question. 

Example:

“I’ll love to chat more about your company and tell you how I can be of help. 

Can we schedule a chat?”

Building your personal brand online.

In building your personal brand online, you portray how you want to be perceived. Have a consistent brand across all channels in terms of your profile, content, activities, etc. 

This is the first thing to do in order to get networking right online. 

“Building a network online doesn’t allow shyness.” Lara Yeku

Questions and Answers:

Ques 1. How can a person still maintain a built-up relationship after networking?

Answer:

Networking goes through various stages;

1) Meet to connect

2) Creating a rapport

3) Gaining trust

4) Nurturing

Sometimes we fail in an area. We can always go back to re-establish the connection, create a rapport once again and build and nurture the relationship. An example is sharing knowledge with that person that you think the person will find useful.

Ques 2:  I have three core areas of interest and strength.

1. Analytics

2. Graduate Assistance

3. Process Improvement 

But I struggle with having a brand that aptly showcases all three, without watering down any one.

How do I manage that to deliver a solid and consistent brand across all platforms?

Answer:

Branding is a MAJOR issue. Your brand starts with WHO YOU ARE and how you want to be PERCEIVED. So please take some time to answer this and start working on ensuring you build a brand that expresses who you want to be known as.

Ques 3:

‘How can an undergraduate make use of his connections since he/she is not in much need of a job per say at the moment or a favour? Because I have connected with a lot of people in my intended career path and I don’t know how to leverage on them now as a student and engage in meaningful conversations with them that would help me boost my opportunity in my intended career.’

Answer:

You can start by asking them career prospective questions. Ask for their opinions, experiences, insights (more like learnings).

Question 4: I have previously connected with some valuable persons, but I haven’t initiated a conversation with them ever since because we currently don’t share any similarities. Please what do you suggest we do to such connections?

Answer:

Find out what might interest them. Share and TAG them!!

Question 5:

1) How does one set out to correct an inconsistent impression made across the social media platforms?

2) What type of skills are highly on demand in any type of employee?

Answer:

1) Clean up your social media handles, you can delete old pictures. You can rewrite your profiles. You can start creating new fresh posts.

2) New Skills set are in more demand by organisations. You need to be abreast of your industry and start focusing on building skills relevant in that industry. i.e digital skills etc. Staying abreast and getting the right information is key.

On a final note, the class was really insightful and every participant was active. You can connect with the trainer on LinkedIn with the name “Lara Yeku.” She is offering a discount on her LinkedIn makeover course. You can reach out to her if interested.

If you missed the last class on “Utilizing LinkedIn in Building a Personal Brand” you can click here

Xoxo,

Yvonne.

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