Top Networking Tips

Its important to your career but just how do you go about networking? Sue Aiken, career adviser with Parachute, a career-management company in the US inspired by Richard Bolless bestseller What Color Is Your Parachute? (Ten Speed Press), shares her top ti

Each person’s networking method is based on his or her personality. Outgoing people may walk into a room and become the life of the party, while introverts prefer one-on-one chats. Choose the method that suits your personality.

Networking can happen anywhere, so proactively seek to meet new people wherever you are. Xolisa Mbanga, a 24-year-old accountant in Jo’burg, was in her gynae’s waiting room when she started chatting to a woman who turned out to be the head of human resources at a large corporation. Months later, when Mbanga needed a job change, she contacted her.

Even if you aren’t looking for a new job or career change, networking is a good way to build contacts in your field. The people you meet may give you information on how to move up in your field. If you are looking for a job, don’t ask someone you’ve just met for one. This makes the person feel uneasy and makes you look desperate. Build the relationship first.

Listening is a must when networking. Ask people questions about themselves and use positive body language such as nodding to show you’re interested in what they’re saying. When it’s your turn to talk about yourself, subtly emphasise your strong points without taking over the conversation or showing off.