Below is a post sent in to us by Rob who is a contact of ours working on a new social website called Akin. The post is written by one of their Interns called Victoria.
Professional Networking. Never Stop.
When I had my first experience of professional networking, I didn’t know what I was doing.
Being thrown into the Danish music industry I noticed very quickly that you meet a lot of people, all the time, and all they do is network (I thought we were just chatting and being polite). I learned that this networking thing is absolutely necessary no matter what your profession is.
It all came very natural to me, I just followed everyone else and that way got introduced to a ton of people.
When I took the trip from Copenhagen to London, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I was alone.
I came to London to gain work experience, but I knew absolutely no one.
I did what most other people do, which is attend several networking events. Let me be honest with you – it’s almost impossible for networking events not to be forced and slightly awkward, especially when you don’t see one familiar face. And how many of these people will you actually build a lasting relationship with?
So Why Network?
There are three very good motives for creating or growing your professional network:
1. You have an idea or dream you want to get started on.
2. You’re already working on something but you need inspiration or help to move on.
3. Who knows what brilliant things might come out of meeting new people with similar jobs,
projects or interests as you?
Starting from scratch is both terrifying and exciting. The greatest motivation is, knowing exactly where you want to end up. Figuring out how you get there though, is not easy.
Networking is definitely a great way to start.
Where to Network
You can go to networking events, but it can be quite strenuous and a lot of people prefer to avoid them. Don’t get me wrong – networking events are great. I’ve met some important people, but you have to be lucky and more importantly, you have to be patient.
Luckily there are plenty of other ways to grow your professional network.
Online networking is easier because it gives you the opportunity to get to know someone before you actually talk to them. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, are all great tools but knowing and deciding how to use them can be a challenge and going through millions of people can be quite the jungle and totally unmanageable.
We built Akin to scratch this itch.
By connecting your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, and painting a picture of yourself both personally and professionally, Akin is able to suggest possible new connections customized to you, what you’re interested in, and what you might need.
This saves so much time and is a great way to break the ice.
The most important thing to remember though is that the networking process will never end. On first contact some conversations may feel like a waste of time. But every now and again those moments will turn out to be the most valuable; when someone remembers your name, recommends you to a friend or colleague and your professional life prospers as a result.
So don’t take anything for granted, be patient and never stop.
Written by Victoria Jespersen. Born and raised in Copenhagen but currently based in London. Victoria is studying Music Business at Point Blank Music College and working as a Community Manager for Tech Startup, Akin.