Let’s talk about a word that strikes fear into some hearts: Networking
When we meet with accounting and finance candidates, especially those at a more senior level, we always cover off the following job search checklist:
Neat and updated CV or resume? Yes!
Set up meetings with good recruiters? Done and dusted
Start networking in your industry…..erm….
It’s at about this time that candidates get all fidgety in their seats and start losing eye contact, looking everywhere but at you. You would think we asked to get up on a stage and sing the national anthem!
Quite a few of us at Consult have accounting backgrounds ourselves, so we’re familiar with the ‘networking doesn’t really work in accounting circles’ line.
We may have even used it ourselves on occasion (don’t tell anyone). But the reality is, if you want to move your career forward in today’s world, you need more than just exceptional accounting knowledge and experience. You also need good and solid networks, especially in a market as small as Auckland’s.
Stay with us here, because we’re going to let you in on a little secret that will make ‘networking’ a lot less onerous and vastly more enjoyable:
Networking should never be about you.
It is about everyone else in the room but you. That’s it. Pretty simple concept really. Instead of charging into that crowded room, armed with your arsenal of business cards, stop and think about what you can do to assist other people with their business or career. What can you bring to the table?
It is much better to truly connect with five people at a function, than to splatter your name and business cards amongst fifty people, none of whom will end up recalling your name, let alone your face, the next day.
Networking is all about connecting with people. It’s not about making one connection with one person; it’s actually about making connections via that one person. If you can forge a genuine relationship based on a sincere interest in someone, not only will they be more likely to help you out directly, they are much more likely to facilitate a connection between you and other contacts who might be useful to you.
It’s infinitely more comfortable and enjoyable taking the focus off your own interests and instead shifting it to someone else. Instead of fretting about what you’re going to say to someone at a function, make it easy on yourself and really listen to the other person, and ask them how you might be able to assist them. Think of it this way: how good will you feel if you are able to connect that person with someone you know who can help them achieve their goals?
As Kiwis, we tend to be a bit reserved and sometimes hesitant to ask for help. This is a bit crazy really, because as a generalisation, Kiwis tend to get a kick out of helping others. We put it to you that our challenge is to change this – our success at an individual level and on the world stage depends on it.
So next time you are “forced to network” – treat it like an opportunity to pay it forward. We guarantee you’ll find it a lot more pleasant, and you might just connect with that one person who’ll make a massive difference to your career.
Need to update your CV and meet with some good recruiters? Contact our team today to have a chat about your career. We promise we won’t force you to network. Just highly recommend it.