An undeniable power comes with building and collaborating through IT Networking. Many people think that getting access to career opportunities depends exclusively on skills and level of achievement. But the truth is, companies don’t make decisions— people do, and people do business with people they know, like, and trust.
Who you know has one of the highest ROI and is one of the best assets you can have when it comes to career advancement and business development. Additionally, you get to learn from people in your network who have more experience and expertise. In this article, we’ll tackle some simple but effective ways to grow your IT network in the industry. You can also head on over to our candidate services page so you can start building a circle that’ll get you places!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is networking in IT?
Networking is a complex but straightforward pattern of interconnecting relationships with other professionals. IT Networking is making meaningful connections with other people with the help of social skills to gain new contacts, career growth and more industry knowledge. Alongside expanding your web of relationships, it’s about thinking and caring for these human connections with the potential to support you in every phase of your professional life.
Why is networking important in the IT industry?
IT Networking offers many career and business opportunities and growth. Consider networking if you’re trying to get a new job, meet or recruit new talents, and meet professionals for the tech industry or other industries. Networking also helps you learn and improve new skills, keep up with the latest industry trends, and gain access to the necessary resources to foster your career development. It also allows you to find a mentor and open up to other viewpoints.
What are some common IT networking mistakes?
Networking involves a lot of effort and preparation, knowing what to say and how to act at the right time at the right place. If you’re making the mistake of not preparing and being composed, it might hurt your chances. Another mistake people make is using any network opportunity as a medium to push their resume.
Although that’s the end goal, it gives a bad impression. Additionally, failing to follow up after making a connection or treating anyone you meet poory is another silly mistake many people make. When networking in IT, it’s important not to saturate your circle with A-listers and big shots. You never know who can make a real difference in your life.
11 IT Networking Tips
1. Know what networking style works best for you.
Your networking style matters as it influences how you would prefer to network with people. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in the IT industry, as different networking tactics work for other people. You wouldn’t expect an introvert to network with people the same way extroverts do, so don’t try to match your networking style with someone else. Some people like to attend tech fairs, while others simply want to remain on social media. It’s important to stay comfortable and confident when reaching out to others so you can always put your best foot forward.
2. Have a reason for your networking.
Many people want to network to have a couple of people on their list, but those numbers may sometimes fail to bring them value. In IT networking, it’s crucial to have a reason. Do you want to get a job? Do you want to meet more professionals? Do you want to move up your career ladder? Having a reason for networking will help you identify your target network group, filter the noise, and get you the right network information to put you at the right place at the right time.
3. Come into the light by being visible.
It pays to be visible because when people know what you’re doing, who you are or what you stand for, there is a greater likelihood of more career opportunities coming your way. Other than that, without visibility, you don’t exist, despite your hard work. Most people want to connect with visible people.
One way to come into the light is by consistently communicating your values and what you offer. You can do this via email, blogging, social media, IT networking, and even through conference talks.
4. Give people a reason to stick around by being helpful.
The essence of networking in IT is to exchange ideas and support other people. When people see that you’re trying to help them, the law of reciprocity follows- a motivation to return the good deed. In IT networking, you need to stretch your aid to other people to show that you’re genuinely interested in their growth. You can do this by being a mediator to make helpful introductions and match valuable resources and people.
When people in your network get stronger, you get stronger, and when your IT network is strong, you’ll have a pool of connections in a better position that can assist you in tapping into more career opportunities. You can also share your expertise or ideas by simply showing up for people’s events, cheering on their accomplishments, or volunteering to work for people. It’ll be easier to get them to reciprocate your helpfulness.
5. Stay valuable by building up your reputation.
In today’s highly-competitive IT workplace, building a valuable reputation makes many differences. And the truth is that you don’t just hope to have the best reputation; instead, your reputation needs to be built, shaped, and managed to reflect the way you want to be viewed. You can start by offering solutions to a familiar problem.
Also, core values matter— stand for something and take action. In a professional setting, people prefer to build and maintain business relationships with people they see as valuable, talented, and helpful.
6. Build your social skills and drop the bias.
Social skills like active listening and effective communication go a long way and are among the most valuable yet commonly overlooked skills in networking and business. People like to talk about themselves, and they often appreciate it when they can sense a genuine interest in you. Active listening and effective communication are key. You’ll also see what value you can bring to them to reinforce the possibility of a professional relationship.
Biases limit our ability to open up opportunities and build networks with diverse people. Removing bias doesn’t mean you’re wishy-washy or devoid of your values and convictions. Rather, it means you’re open to hearing the values and beliefs of others. Ask open-ended questions, be genuinely interested, and express interest and curiosity.
“How will you ever grow your network if you don’t understand what makes the other person tick?
7. Be intentional with your network.
Although attending fairs and events for IT networking is good, it’s also better to focus on quality rather than quantity. It can be very tempting to approach everyone making a big move in the IT industry, but you have to be intentional about meeting and networking with other IT professionals.
The goal is to have at least 5-6 good conversations with people to build rapport, share valuable content and spark interesting discussions. Don’t aim to meet everyone and network with everyone, as it’s better to make one strong connection than five that fall flat.
8. Attend IT fairs and events.
As much as possible, look out for nearby tech and IT networking events, conferences and training programs that can give you the opportunities to expand both your mind and your network. These places offer you a wide array of professionals and newbies to link up and network with; you’ll also get to build on your knowledge about industry-specific details. If possible, look for opportunities to volunteer and serve during these programs, even if it’s handing out coffee.
9. Join professional associations.
Professional associations and communities can provide a new list of contacts for your IT networking. Associations also help put you in the right place and give you the correct information and trends in the IT industry. Most associations hold annual conferences where you can learn more about the field and meet experts in the area. You also get to attend association conferences to meet A-listers in person.
10. Be active on social media.
Social media is one of the most effective networking tools, especially in the tech industry, so you must leverage that tool to your advantage. Social media platforms like Linkedin should be your starting point because it offers you a wide range of different people in the tech industry. It also gives you a chance to search for IT professionals, recruiters or relevant hiring managers you’re hoping to connect with and kick start a conversation that can lead to an interview or a collaboration.
Also, the LinkedIn algorithm helps push your content to the face of your target network, as long as they are valuable, so in the end, your content gets to meet people who may connect with you. Twitter is also another great social media tool to invest in if you’re hoping to build your network In IT. You can follow handles, like or retweet content of people you’re hoping to network with. Again, it depends on your networking reason.
11. Ask and follow up.
Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction, help or advice. When you see someone you want to meet or add to your network, ask for some time to meet with you. Be polite and friendly and if rejected, try another time again or move on. If you get yourself a meeting, make sure you follow up after the meeting, as this will help sustain your professional relationship.
Also, find a way to stay in touch and stay relevant with your old network. Let them know you enjoyed their conversation, send them any information they may need to grow. You can take it a step further and sign up on their mailing list to send out thank you and congratulation notes.
To wrap up
It’s not what you know; it’s who you know that counts. If your skills, interests and projects remain unseen, no one will help you. Utilize IT networking by showing up and staying relevant in the tech industry. Be comfortable with learning from others who have different strengths so you can grow and get closer to success.