We know, we know, you hate networking. It makes you feel uncomfortable, inauthentic––maybe even dirty. There are, of course, those who thrive on social interaction––aka, the extroverts––but as far as you and your introverted inner child are concerned, if you never had to make small talk again, you’d be pretty darn happy with yourself. Except…
Yes, here comes the except, and it’s big. We now live in a world where networking is a necessity. In fact, it can make or break careers. Try as you might to ignore it, countless research has shown that cultivating connections leads to more job opportunities, increased job satisfaction, an improved capacity to innovate, and even greater status and authority.
What’s more, as we become increasingly insular––working from home, socialising online––our need to build real-life relationships becomes ever more important. Simply put, networking (particularly of the micro-kind) is building connections with people who can help you. You just need to start now, even if you don’t think you need to.
Holding you back
Why? Well, for one, your lack of professional relationships could be holding you back. You might be very good at what you do, but talented or not, having a strong network means you’ll be more likely to hear about (and even get recommended for) the most sought-after jobs first. Even if you’re not in the market for changing roles, staying connected to other smart people in your industry can help your career to develop within a company.
And say, for example, the word “redundancy” starts being heard in whispers around the office. It’s no secret the tech industry is currently experiencing layoffs. Some of the world's largest companies, from Meta to Amazon, have reported significant decreases in revenue over the last few quarters, leading to mass redundancies. When times get tough, and jobs become fewer and further between, who do you reach out to first? Your network.
So, how can you start networking without feeling like you’re going to lose your lunch? Start small. Big conferences, and platforms like LinkedIn, are fine, but you want quality over quantity when building new, long-lasting connections. Attend smaller networking functions, take advantage of (virtual) meetups, say “yes” more often, or even host your own events. Bridge too far? Okay, maybe you’re not ready for that just yet.
As for those already established connections, like your colleagues (remember them?), you just need to make a little more effort. If you’ve gotten used to the hybrid life, be really conscious about how you socialise when you’re in the office. It’s essential to make time for them when you’re at work and consciously cultivate interpersonal connections.
Be explicit about wanting to connect––odds are they’ll be happy for the invitation. And whatever you do, make sure you don’t fall into the habit of eating lunch at your desk. You do that enough at home. If you only have one or two days in the office, you shouldn’t be eating alone.
It’s never been a better time to start building, or expanding and broadening our networks, so if you can dedicate a mere hour a week connecting with new people, you could expand your network by 50 in a year’s time. Not a lot of effort for considerable benefits.
Speaking of, here are three great companies, with excellent benefits, which are currently hiring in Europe. Plus, discover many more on the Tech.eu Job Board.
Consistently named one of the world’s most diverse and inclusive companies, Accenture is dedicated to creating a culture of equality. With offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 50 countries and over 710,000 employees worldwide, that’s a lot of networking opportunities. A passionate global group of business strategists, creatives, architects, engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, it works with pioneering ecosystem partners, forward-thinking regulators and industry influencers who are collectively ushering in the next evolution of how we engage and interact with the world. You can view current opportunities at Accenture here.
Founded in 2011, GoCardless was created to fill a gap in the market. Founder Tom Blomfield identified that smaller businesses were struggling to set up direct debits with the banks (due to their size) and therefore take advantage of automatic, recurring payments from their customers. CEO Hiroki Takeuchi best describes the brand’s mission is still to “take the pain out of getting paid so that our customers can focus on what they do best.” If that sounds like the kind of company you want to look for, GoCardless is looking for a whole host of tech experts––from software development engineers to security operational analysts––to join its ever-growing team. Discover open roles on the GoCardless job board.
Octopus Energy is the UK’s most awarded energy supplier. It’s got an important, urgent mission to bring affordable, green energy to the world, and every person at Octopus works relentlessly to make that change happen fast. The staff work with freedom and responsibility, and if you join the company you'll get a lot of trust to run with ideas and take ownership of what you do. Sound like something you can work with? It’s currently looking for software engineers in Berlin, senior Python developers in London and solution engineers in Manchester. You can view all the tech roles they have at Octopus Energy here.