Master one simple, ancient social skill to massively improve your career prospects
Our reputation for matching candidates with vacancies in the accountancy sector is second-to-none. We have the expertise and experience to find the role that’s perfect for you. But, there is, of course, much that you can do to help yourself – which is why we support you with these regular blogs. Have you ever thought how business networking could form the cornerstone of your profile-building activities?
You may already know about many of the benefits of active business networking – building your confidence, boosting your communications skills and gaining new insights into the accountancy sector. Do you also realise how vital effective networking can be to enhancing your career potential?
You may be thinking, ‘Not networking! I can’t stand it. All those awkward handshakes, forced conversations and uncomfortable small talk.’ If you knew about the positive effect it could have on your future career, would you give it a try? You may be shy. You may not consider yourself a natural but here are some steps you can take to make networking work for you.
- Softly, softly
Networking is a slow game. Don’t kid yourself that the moment you walk into a room filled with business people, that they’ll immediately flock to you to give you business or offer you a role in their Practice. Building a professional network takes time. Think long-term. The first step is consistency. Try out different groups. Once you’ve found the one that’s for you, keep turning up again and again. In time, you’ll become known and liked ad someone who’s reliable – not a bad quality in today’s job market.
- Develop connections rather than transactions
Don’t measure your networking success by the number of transactions you make or new clients you acquire. Your goals should focus on the quality of the connections you make. It’s not about who you get to know at networking events, so much who they know.
- Maintain a professional and positive attitude
Never moan about business or your current employer. Successful networkers always have a positive, professional attitude that makes others want to know and connect with them.
- Be an active listener
A vital quality. Don’t spout on about yourself. There’s plenty of time for others to learn about you. Find out about other people – and it doesn’t have to be business all the way. Ask them about their interest holidays, family. You’ll develop a reputation or being likeable. Most importantly, you’ll become memorable and stay at the top of people’s minds … for the right reasons.
- Be authentic
Simply, be yourself. Nothing builds trust and credibility like authenticity. Back this up by finding out about your fellow networkers’ issues and challenges. Offer helpful tips or suggestions. They might ask you about accountancy software. Give them a few pros and cons. They’ll be impressed by your expertise and grateful for your kindness.
- Always Follow-up
Carry out what you said you’d do – every time. Send your fellow networker the link to that article you discussed. Make that introduction you promised to make. At the very least, make a positive impression by sending a LinkedIn connection request with a friendly message.
- Connect people with opportunities
Always be thinking not about what you’re going to get out of networking. Think instead about how you can help others – find the kind of connections and opportunities that they’re looking for. Facilitate introductions, share advice, offer feedback, find ways of helping them. You’ll feel good. They’ll be impressed.
It’s all about who you know
It’s been said that what matters most is not what you know, but who you know. Your networking skills will always be a key tool to help open the right doors. Use networking as a way to learn more about the accountancy sectors you’d like to work in. Try to meet people who might one day connect you with those opportunities.
Be a conscientious and considerate networker and people will soon be talking about you. Before long, your reputation on the circuit will blossom. Then, when the time comes, there’s a good chance you’ll be uppermost in the minds of those who can give your career the boost you’re looking for.
As specialist accountancy recruiters, we know how employers think – how their minds work. When it comes to applying for an accountancy vacancy, put yourself in pole position.
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