Why is professional networking important for your career?

Apart from your education and experience, establishing a professional network of diverse stakeholders is often at the core of a successful career. The PSET CLOUD team offers you some advice on how to expand your professional network in four easy steps.

One of the objectives of the PSET CLOUD is to assist users, both employed and unemployed with opportunities to advance their career pathways. How does it do this? A user logs on to the PSET CLOUD, and uploads their credentials which are private and secure and will only be shared with anyone, even a potential employer,with your permission. The system links you to the prospective employer or a prospective career centre and you have enough information at your fingertips to start expanding your professional network.

Building your network can help you to:

  • Be noticed by industry experts or recruiters 
  • Get career support and advice from industry peers
  • Get valuable referrals to help you land a new job or promotion
  • Form long-lasting relationships with influential people

Here’s how to expand your network in 4 simple steps:

Step 1: Build your personal brand to enable networking opportunities

The basis of a successful professional network is a strong personal brand, and this starts with a well-structured CV. Working on your CV is a chance to reflect on your own skills, competencies, and the image you want to project. 

Next, join professional networking tools such as LinkedIn and Yammer to help you expand your network. You can use the information you’ve compiled in your CV to complete your profiles and move your presence online. 

Finally, start making connections. A strong online presence can help make young start-outs more employable, and it’s also crucial in advancing your career. Use apps such as the PSET CLOUD to seamlessly verify your qualifications, and to get referrals from previous employers in a secure environment. By reaching out to professionals from your past you remind them of your work ethic and skillset. It’s a small world; people talk; and before you know it, someone from your past may just refer you to one of their connections in turn. 

Step 2: Form valuable connections

Professional networking isn’t about making the most connections, but rather about making the most valuable connections. You need to focus on connecting with people who can potentially help advance your career.

Valuable connections include:

  • Superiors such as unit or line managers
  • Human resource managers
  • Peers or teammates you collaborated with on projects
  • Clients or contacts outside your organisation that you liaised with as part of your role

If you’re uncertain about reaching out, ask yourself whether you think the person would be willing to vouch for you if they were to be contacted as a reference. If the answer is yes and you’re not sure how to approach them, reach out through a platform such as the PSET CLOUD, and ask them to do something simple such as verifying your credentials or confirming your experience as a starting point. 

Step 3: Project your "brand" to the people in your network 

In order to establish your personal brand, it’s important to get an understanding of your skills and competencies. What you are good at and what you’re experienced in forms a key part of the image you have to reflect to your professional network. 

Bear in mind that skills and qualifications go beyond formal education. Use the PSET CLOUD to establish which of your informal skills are relevant to the current job market, then implement this self knowledge when you’re marketing yourself.

Step 4:Form lasting connections 

It’s easy to set up an online presence, but it takes a lot of commitment to maintain this. Consistency is key, so dedicate some time each week to maintain your network:

  • Be active: If you’re on LinkedIn, share thought provoking articles, or post updates about the projects you’re involved in. Remember to also like or comment on posts made by your connections.
  • Reach out: It’s good etiquette to congratulate your connections on promotions, job anniversaries, or birthdays. You’re most likely to see these on LinkedIn, but you can also add calendar notifications to remind you to reach out via email.
  • Form new connections: Add new contacts, colleagues and superiors to your network as you meet them or start working with them. 
  • Keep your information updated: Your professional profiles should always be up to date and accurately reflect your career history. As an added bonus, you can have your experience verified in a secure environment using the PSET CLOUD.

Let’s face it – it’s not always easy to reach out and connect with people on a professional level, especially if you’re not the social type. However, it’s important to acknowledge that meaningful connections with those in your field can have an ongoing positive effect on your career. 

Professional networking is all about forming lasting connections that will help support you throughout your career. Investing your time now will certainly pay off in future!

We hope that we have been able to help!

The PSET CLOUD team.

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