The most powerful method of enhancing effectiveness in your career development (as well as expanding your employer’s business) is networking. Particularly in the finance industry, we deal with more people than most other industries. Consider the following:
- Who is in your network? It includes colleagues, customers, professional associations within the sector, sporting contacts, suppliers, service providers, social and church contacts, family, parents of children’s friends, neighbours, university alumni and so the list goes on.
- Try to approach your network in a way that will not put them in a difficult position where they can’t say no (plan your script in advance).
- Networking is not one off when you have a desperate need. It is ongoing, regular, interesting and meaningful for both parties.
- Networking is mutual – don’t just look for how people can help you, but look at how you can also help them. Your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.
- Networking is far more powerful when looking to advance your career than applying online for roles. We want to work with people we know, trust and like.
There are many effective ways to expand your network to reach decision influencers and decision makers to potentially enhance your career in finance. This does not necessarily mean directly asking people for a job, but can include the following:
- Approaching a person you know and respect and asking them for feedback on your skills and what they perceive as areas for improvement. This is a subtle way of making them aware of your attributes.
- Ask the person, based on the above, who you should be speaking with to enhance your finance career. If they have a positive opinion of you, they will normally volunteer to provide an introduction to any relevant people in the sector.
- Seek a mentor within your finance network who may give you valuable career guidance – possibly someone who has ‘been there, done that’. Many experience workers are willing to help.
- Be prepared to ask the question and seek help. After all, the person may need your support in some way in the future, which you must be prepared to give.
Networking has been proven over a long period in the career transition industry as by far the most effective way of gaining a new role. Specific research undertaken has shown 60-75% of people in Australia gain their next role through networking.
Your skills are transferable into different roles within all categories within finance sector so don’t restrict choices to what you have direct experience in. Used effectively, networking is a very powerful tool for career development and gaining the opportunity to present your skills. This equally applies in developing the new business customer base for your organisation and by applying these same principles in your day-to-day role, you will achieve much greater success.