Professional networking advice often follows the same script: hit the pavement, connect with industry peers on social media, attend events, get yourself known, and cast your net as far and wide as possible.
But what can you do to advance your career without leaving your current workplace.
Here are five tips for getting the benefits of networking at your office.
1. Join company clubs and groups
If you work for a mid-sized or larger firm, it’s likely they have clubs and groups that bring people together from different areas to share knowledge, skills and experience.
Does your organisation have meet-ups or team sports outside work hours? This can be a good way to have fun while getting to know your colleagues better.
2. Polish your skills
One of the best ways to maintain a competitive parity within your company is to join your colleagues in educational pursuits such as professional events or membership of a professional association.
Workshops, seminars and conferences can give you a bird’s-eye view of industry trends and best practices. If the extra skills and knowledge you gain can benefit the company, your employer might even be prepared to pay for the cost of these activities.
This is another good way of broadening your horizons – and career options – without having to join the throng of job hunters.
Unpaid or pro-bono work can show you’re sensitive to social causes while raising your profile with colleagues and managers. If you can get them to join in as well, it can be a good way to bond.
4. Nurture relationships
Everyone wants to carve out a great career path, but some forget this can only be achieved by doing the right thing by colleagues and the company.
Getting ahead in your career depends on the relationships you build along the way. Polish your listening skills, look for opportunities to make other people’s jobs easier and provide a helping hand wherever possible. It will pay dividends later.
5. Be thankful
A quick ‘thank you’ email takes only a few seconds and shows the recipient you appreciate what they did for you. Other small gestures – such as treating a colleague to lunch or bringing a cake to the office – might seem a little cheesy, but can go a long way towards making you a well-liked, valued person around the office.
Also keep in mind that hiring and training new employees is expensive, and most companies are willing to invest heavily in retaining good staff members. If you can give your organisation a compelling reason to hold on to you, the rewards can be great.
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