How To Network After A Career Break
We were recently invited to write a blog for Trapeze HR, a recruitment consultancy that specialises in flexible and agile working. Given how challenging it can be to find the right role after a career break, we wrote the following tips on how to network effectively to achieve your career goals.
Networking is defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. In today’s world, we don’t have the luxury of avoiding networking; it is especially important if you are looking for a job after a career break. LinkedIn estimates that around 85% of jobs are filled via networking. Having a solid network, gives you more access to knowledge, information and even support needed in your career transition.
Here are 6 key points to think about when networking after a career break.
Be confident and clear
Confidence is key after a career break. Whatever your reasons are for being on a career break, remember the person you are and the skills you have. Have the courage to tell people what you want. When you meet others, be clear on who you are, your story & your experience. If you are clear and confident on what you want, people will think of you when an opportunity arises.
Identify your interest and filter your network
Your network doesn’t have to be a formal body; it can be your group of friends, parents from school or other contacts in your community. However, a key point to remember is that networking is not just about increasing the number of people you know, it is about developing meaningful relationships that are mutually beneficial. Firstly, identify where your passion/interest lies and consider what relationships you currently have in this space and how you can foster existing strategic relationships, as well as building new ones. You must be ready to move out of your comfort zone!
Recognise that LinkedIn is a network of 400 million people, not just a database. Having a LinkedIn profile that is current, impressive and complete is extremely important, particularly when it comes to career return. Recruiters, head-hunters and HR professionals are using it extensively. If you need help on creating or updating your LinkedIn profile, our career transition program includes a module dedicated to the subject.
Attend networking events
Attend networking events that are relevant to building out the right network. Be selective; you don’t want to waste your time on irrelevant events.
Continue to build strong relationships
Networking is reciprocal; think about how you can support those you meet. Building strong relationships is about being authentic, honest and considerate. Follow up with people, reconnect. You want them to remember you if they hear about a relevant position. Finally, keep a log of people you connect with. This can apply to contacts, recruiters, advisors and mentors.
Seek help if needed
Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help at a time of returning to work. They can offer insights and further support, such as life coaching, (business and career), mentoring or counselling. Ensure the relevant coach is qualified with strong credentials. Personal recommendations are even better!