Networking may seem like a scary prospect, but it has so many benefits it would be foolish to avoid it.
It comes in different forms, so doesn’t mean you just attend events or conferences to meet the right people. We’ll go over all the types of networking here to help you choose the most appropriate for you.
We will also talk about building your professional network, so you’ll always have people to turn to for career advice and guidance within the construction industry.
The advantages of networking
Networking improves your chances of hearing about new job opportunities, news about apprenticeships, plus you are guaranteed to meet people from across your industry. Let’s break down each advantage that networking can give you.
Networking allows you to meet new people, but also improve the relationships you already have in the construction industry too. Keeping in touch with people shows you value the relationship and that you can be relied upon.
Acquiring fresh ideas
Meeting with people in the construction industry is bound to keep your creative juices flowing. You may have new ideas on how to proceed with your career, who you should work with next, or even ideas for a project you are working on. Connecting with others and talking shop is never a bad thing when it comes to getting fresh ideas and perspective.
Raising your profile
By going to networking events and making the most of the opportunities, you make sure others are aware of you. Companies you’d like to work at or people you’d like to partner with will notice you if you are there to have conversations or share ideas. It’s the same online too, so make sure you are staying up to date on social media with the construction industry too.
Gathering new information
The construction industry is exciting and innovative. There are new technologies and developments going on all the time, so keeping your ear to the ground at networking events is a great way to stay informed. Talks about new projects, or even informal chats about new job roles coming up are all useful for you and your career.
Getting advice and support
Whether you are just starting out or moving onto a new project that you are unsure about, networking could be a real lifeline. You can talk with professionals with more experience to get guidance, or even training opportunities. Support from your peers and others in the industry will be invaluable at many points in your career, whichever role you are in.
How to build your professional network
Building a professional network is essentially the same as building a group of friends, only these people can help you professionally to achieve some of your goals and expand your career horizons.
Friends & family
If you already have people in your social circle who work in construction, they are perfect for helping you find out more about the industry or opportunities within it. Speak to them about apprenticeships, training, events, anything that might help you get the job you want, or access projects you’re interested in. After all, they do say “it’s not what you know, but who”.
You can use social media sites, particularly Facebook or LinkedIn, to ‘follow’ businesses pages you admire or would like to work with. You can see job vacancies they have, or attend events they put on. You can also reach out via direct messaging to ask to speak to others in the industry. Just always be polite and respectful of other people’s boundaries online.
Forums and discussion boards
Forums and discussion boards are great places for sharing ideas, job opportunities and information on the industry. You can talk to people at every stage of a career in construction, or maybe even find someone who works in the role you are training for. Use forums to find out about physical events, too, and be sure to show up at a few to meet people in person, as well as online.
Networking events are the classic in supposedly stressful environments. They are in fact not scary at all. There are usually ice breaking talks or seminars to encourage people to talk afterwards so you can choose who to speak to. Take a business card or your contact details with you, so anyone you do speak to can get in touch with you afterwards. Be sure to clearly introduce yourself and if possible, take the opportunity to take a few branded giveaways to remind you of the people you met, their contact details and business.
Join local organisations
Find local groups which focus on your particular job role, or are made up of local construction businesses and get involved any way you can. You may be able to attend events and meet people that way, or get access to jobs and training through the organisation's members.
The importance of networking
Networking is an important part of any career. The conversations you have while networking all act as links to potential career opportunities. You may hear about a job role before anyone else, get insight from an expert on a skill you’re trying to hone, or find support for a project you’re hoping to develop. Don’t avoid it, find your own version of networking that suits you so you feel confident reaching out and talking to people.
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