Business networking tips | Where to network

There are plenty of places that are ideal networking opportunities. The easiest but not always the most obvious place to start networking is through your friends and family.

It is always a good idea to keep in touch with old friends from school or university as they are more likely than others to help you out if you ask them to. This is a time when web sites such as Facebook can come in very handy. You'll be able to extend you social network, find old friends and catch up with what they're doing and where they're working.

Old colleagues - it can be awkward to ask friends and family and you may not feel comfortable putting them in that situation. Therefore you may like to turn to old colleagues. These people will have worked in your sector and therefore may also be working in a company or sector that you want to find a job in.

They may not be working for a company that you are interested in or there may be no vacancies at their firm, however, they are likely to have their own network which you may want to tap into. This is why it is always a good idea to leave a company on good terms and to keep in contact with old workmates. Even a card at Christmas will help to keep you in their minds.

Online networking - using a service like Linkedin is a good way of expanding your online business network. This is essentially the business version of Facebook where you can list you achievements, job history and educational qualifications. You can build up an online network of people that you've worked with, have met or may wish to meet.

Social Groups - joining a social group can be a great way to expand you network. You will get to meet people who you don't normally associate with and who will work in a variety of jobs. If you are undecided about where you want to take your career a wider social circle may provide you with people who will be able to give you advice and insight into new areas of work.

Industrial bodies and societies - another useful place to look to build your network is in industrial bodies and societies. Many professions will have their own bodies to represent the industry. For example accounts have the Institute of Chartered Accounts and economists have the Society of Business Economists. Joining one of these bodies will not only give you access to the presentations, services and facilities provided, it will also give you access to their members. By attending their events you will be meeting people who are almost entirely relevant to your profession. Even if you are not looking for another job these people will help to enhance your knowledge and understanding of your current role. They could also be a helpful contact should you need to get ideas and information.


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