It is important in any profession to make sure you feel connected to other people in the organisation and your peers. The easiest way to do this is through regular networking.
The more people who know you and know what you do, the more likely it will foster good working relationships, expand your professional development, and aid your continued learning.
"Networking is a really good way for IT professionals to stay in touch with changing industry standards and trends" said Mirza Baig, Consultant at Robert Walters. "Networking will also improve your profile within the company, and help you build relationships more effectively with other parts of the business."
Networking can often be intimidating with many not knowing where to start. Three steps to get you started include:
Networking is a really good way for IT professionals to stay in touch with changing industry standards and trends
Scope out what you can do within your organisation. Depending on the size and structure of your organisation there might be professional or informal. Team building exercises, charity volunteer days, corporate sporting groups and team drinks are all easy ways to get to know your colleagues.
Meeting people in your field but outside of your organisation is great for continued learning, staying on top of trends, and sharing ideas. Professional associations and trade magazines are a good place to start feeling out what events are happening in your industry. You can also explore graduate and alumni groups at education institutions.
With networking, the more time and effort that is invested the greater the return. Realise that although you may be there to expand your horizons, other people are there for the same reason. So be a valuable member, learn to ask questions, and listen with comfort, sincerity and interest.
Most importantly, be yourself and enjoy the experience. Sooner than later you should begin to build your network. It will increase your confidence, interpersonal skills and provide opportunity for career advancement.
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