Professional Development/Skills: Networking Ideas

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Professional Development/Skills: Networking Ideas

Inessa Royt

 

Oxford Dictionaries says that to network is to ‘interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.’  Why is networking important? 70% of jobs are found through networking according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University report from 2016.

Tips for Networking:

  • It isn’t just about your work.

It’s also about the people you meet. Do what you need to do for work, but also keep in mind that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Take a step back and use your strengths to increase your visibility. Set yourself up for a coffee date with coworkers. Talk to people in other departments. On every project, try to make a “go- to” buddy if you can. Don’t be afraid to reach out and try to find that person or people.

  • Meet people through other people.

Ask for suggestions on how to expand your network. If they are in your field, perhaps they know other people who may be willing to chat with you or an industry forum you can tap into. If you have a mentor, you drive those sessions. They may be able to connect you to others.

  • Leverage social media such as LinkedIn.

There are groups and pages where you can reach out to people in your profession or exchange ideas with others looking to get into it. LinkedIn has a lot of people that can help you, especially recruiters and consultants. Reach out! They are basically the representatives who want you to succeed.

  • Seek out networking events.

Networking is an investment, for yourself and your future. This includes a time investment which can involve networking sessions and events. instead of trying to speak to everybody in the room, or Zoom room, it may be beneficial to go into the networking event thinking about connecting a little bit closer with somebody in the room. since the value in networking is sustaining the relationship by making networking a priority, it can be better to focus on one or a few people rather than trying to say hi to every single person. Gauge your surroundings and see what works for you.

  • Informal Interviews can help you learn about a field.

If you’re truly open to learning, there are people who are willing to help. Ask questions and dig into the day to day work- lives of people in the profession that you are exploring or specific job that you want. Don't be afraid to ask a contact to be interviewed, and remember that people often love sharing about themselves.

You can use an informal interview to help find out more about what a particular job or career involves, what you would be doing day- to- day. You can find out about peoples’ career development over time and how your peers and mentors got to where they are.

  • Don’t ask for a job!

If you are talking to people in order to expand your network, this can come off as rude. While you may utilize your network to receive early notice about possible future vacancies or to ask for a workplace tour, your sole intention should not be to ask for a job. Instead, utilize your time to ask them about their industry, tips, etc. Find a way to give value to the other person. Why should THEY want to meet with you? Reciprocation is important. It isn’t just what they can do for you and how others can help you. Who knows, in the future this person might recommend you for a job!

  • Always say thank you and send a follow up.

Now this may seem obvious, but I was oblivious to follow up emails until recently! Especially if you’re doing an informal interview, a small thank you note can go a long way in letting people know that they are appreciated.

 

Tips for Networking at Anaplan:

There are many ways to connect at Anaplan! I spoke to several people in the Anaplan ecosystem about their thoughts in terms of best ways to Network with other Anaplanners.

  • Gain perspective on how Anaplan works internally.

Talk to people from departments you may be interested in. See how Connected Planning works within the company and meet people from all over the internal system! You will understand the use of Anaplan for other businesses better by understanding the use internally.

There are community groups that are open to all, and many are not exclusive to Anaplan employees. Community even includes location- based groups. When it is safe (in terms of Covid-19), there are opportunities to meet in person with your peers. You can also be active in forums, post blogs, comments on other people's blogs, and ask lots of questions. Spotlight series and blog posts can help you stay up to date with the current events at Anaplan.  Remember that tagging specific people is a good way to get their attention.  When you connect with people through the community, it is a good idea to exchange LinkedIn profiles and continue the conversation.

  • Utilize LinkedIn.

LinkedIn has many recruiters actively recruiting for positions in an Anaplan ecosystem. LinkedIn also has a multitude of groups including one broad group that many in the ecosystem are a part of.

  • Seek out mentors.

Be intentional about meeting others and there are members of the community that enjoy mentoring. It can be helpful to speak to people on the Community website but you may meet other Anaplanners elsewhere, such as LinkedIn groups! Anaplan employees have been described as connected and passionate people who love to connect and help whenever they can.

  • Slack is your friend!

Anaplan is big on the use of Slack for communication and people are generally willing to answer. If you are an intern or fresh hire (or even a seasoned employee), drop someone who you find interesting a message. You will find that Anaplan members love to connect and help whenever they can.

  • Tilt!

Employees do a Tilt survey, and it is a good way to start a conversation. “What’s your Tilt?” It is also a good way, on any team, to figure out how to work together.

  • Go through the Anaplan Training.

Even if you don’t use Anaplan daily at your position, it will help you to engage in the active and lively conversations happening in Community and elsewhere. Having a common language can only be beneficial when meeting others, and with such a diversity of roles, this will help you to be able to converse with people in sectors of the Anaplan ecosystem.

 

Final words about Networking:

In the end, it’s all about building a relationship. Be reliable, be dependable, and be open to new ideas. Networking is interacting with others, exchanging information, and developing professional or social contacts. We must work to create long term relationships and always think of it as an opportunity to grow.

 

About the Author (& Why I chose to write about Networking)

If you had asked me a year ago about networking I would not have known much. It felt as if networking were part of a hidden curriculum that I never got to learn. As a public school student in a low income area, I felt as though many of these soft skills were overlooked. There was a lot my family didn’t know and I sometimes felt lost without proper guidance at school. My peers and I had futures laid out for us that included local colleges and good grades as a path to stable work. It felt like a pervasive thought that some of us would have a more difficult time finding success because we didn’t have the proper connections.

This year, I participated in a workforce development program and interviewed people in the tech industry, where I learned more about networking and interviewing. At the same time, I had the pleasure of working with a mentor from Anaplan. In addition, I have now been given the wonderful opportunity to speak with other people who work here at Anaplan and find out some of their greatest tips and stories. I wanted to share some of what I learned with you.