Network and stay connected to develop your career

To be successful in today’s labour market, there are different strategies you can adopt. Two great ones are networking and staying connected. When you join a network, you engage with people who can contribute to your career development. It is within groups of like-minded professionals that you can hear about job opportunities that you may not have found on your own, and even find yourself a mentor.

When you make the effort to stay connected, you gain valuable knowledge that you can use to make well-informed decisions for your career. By keeping tabs on the labour market, you will have all the facts to advance in your career.

Build your network

Networking means building long-term relationships that can help you achieve professional success. Your network can consist of personal, professional, or academic contacts with whom you can exchange information and ideas that can help you develop your career. Maintaining a strong professional network will be beneficial throughout your career. Your network can help you improve your communication and social skills, position yourself for a referral, and, of course, find new job opportunities.

There are many ways to start networking. You can join academic or professional associations, attend industry events, or connect with others on social media, for example, you could add relevant connections to your LinkedIn or reach out to experts in your field on Twitter.

One of the goals of networking is to showcase yourself as a professional. To achieve this, you will need to show confidence when you engage with others. Prepare conversation starters and think of different topics that you would enjoy discussing with people in that specific networking event. Once a connection is made, don’t stop there! Follow-up and stay in touch to develop the relationship. It will be greatly advantageous to your career.

Find a mentor

After you set up your network, it might be time to find a mentor with whom you can build a long-term professional relationship. This person is usually someone who has gathered a lot of experience in their field. By interacting with a mentor, a person with less experience who is looking to grow within their career will gain on many fronts.

For example, a mentor can help his mentee expand its own growing network by sharing their connections. They can also provide the guidance, knowledge and support that is needed to find success and offer valuable information that will keep the competition far behind.

You can follow these steps to find a mentor:

  1. Look around you and see if any of your coworkers have the experience that you are aiming to acquire, and if so, reach out to them to ask if they would be interested in mentoring you.
  2. Attend professional networking events linked to your industry.
  3. Use different tools on social media, like LinkedIn or Twitter where you can connect with professionals who share your interests.
  4. Visit a career centre and talk to an advisor who might be able to help you in your search.

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Stay connected

Now more than ever it is important to stay connected to your industry and the labour market in general. You can do so by following the news, reading expert reports, using social media and looking up forums and blogs. You can also join professional networks or industry associations that represent the interests of people who work in your field. They may host online or in-person events and workshops where experts in the field will present the latest news and best practices in the industry, and where professionals can network and exchange ideas.

Two main benefits of staying connected to your industry are that you will be able to identify upcoming changes and employment opportunities, and you will have an advantage over the other candidates who are interested in applying for the same positions as you.

If you find out if layoffs are projected, if big investments are planned or if any partnerships with a major player in the industry are coming in your region, you will be better prepared to face the increasingly competitive labour market. Knowledge is power.

Not only will you be aware of the socio-economic trends that might be impacting your industry, but you will also gain valuable information that will be quite useful should you choose to change careers or apply for a promotional role.

Keep on learning

The labour market is constantly evolving, so it’s important to keep on learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills to adapt and grow.

Continuous learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and competencies continually over time by actively seeking new learning opportunities, even years into your career, long after you’ve graduated and obtained your degree.

Through continuous learning, you can choose to refresh the skills you already have or learn new ones. By doing so, you will get a boost of confidence and be better equipped to face any change that might come up in your industry or the labour market. If you are looking to change careers, you might want to sign up for a training or education program to reskill for a new job. On the other hand, if you are happy in your current role, you may simply want to work on the skills that you already have to upskill and improve your qualifications.

Many types of continuous learning opportunities exist; you could choose to attend a course online, a conference or a workshop. Before settling on one option, it’s important that you ask yourself certain questions to better define your needs.

Uncover the hidden job market

Whether you are just entering the workforce, looking for a promotion or contemplating a career change, network your way into the hidden job market. This is where you can find jobs not advertised online and often filled by internal candidates or through recommendations. Many job seekers limit their search to jobs that are advertised online, but by doing so, they might miss out on hidden opportunities. Do not sit back and wait for a position to appear online!

You can apply for jobs found in the hidden job market in many ways. Here are a few to consider:

  1. Reach out to your network and advise relevant connections that you are looking for work and inform them of your skills and experiences.
  2. Join industry-related groups where you could raise your profile.
  3. Reach out to a company that you wish to work for and ask directly about possible job openings.

Ready for the next step?

To succeed in today's labour market, it’s crucial to network and stay connected to your industry. By joining professional networks, participating in events and using social media, you can build valuable relationships that will contribute to your career growth. Finding a mentor will further enhance your professional development, as they will be able to provide you with guidance and help you expand your network. To identify opportunities or challenges and stay ahead of the competition, you should also stay connected to your industry by following the news, reading reports, and attending presentations from experts in the field.

Don’t forget that continuous learning is essential to adapt and keep growing in an ever-changing labour market, whether by refreshing your current skills or acquiring new ones. You can also tap into the hidden job market by leveraging your network to fin unadvertised job and learning opportunities.

At this step in your career journey, you may feel like you’re facing a fork in the road. If you’re happy in your current role and field, you may just want to keep on honing your craft and getting better at what you do. Otherwise, you may realize that it's time to go back a few steps and consider a transition to a different career.

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