Networking is crucial to get ahead in most industries, and finance can be one of the hardest to get into. While hard work, knowledge and experience are vital to landing your dream job, knowing the right people can be a crucial way to move onward and upwards.
Having a solid network will put you in a better position for finding future employment opportunities, getting help from those around you and staying at the forefront of innovation and progress.
There are many ways you can start to build your financial network. You will need confidence, good communication skills and not to shy away from putting yourself out there.
It may help to do some research into the financial conventions you could attend. You may need to travel to find the best ones or if your specialty is niche. You will find conferences that cater to bigger picture elements of finance, such as Finovate’s Fall Convention.
If attending a convention, you could sign up for as many classes, demos and lectures as possible to give you the greatest opportunity to meet other professionals. There may also be social opportunities for mingling with other guests and speakers. It may help to exchange contact details with as many people as possible and follow up with them after the conference.
You could make use of social media to help you grow your network. Sites like LinkedIn are excellent for connecting like-minded individuals. You could search for LinkedIn groups specific to your industry and get involved in discussions online. This can be a great way to meet people in the finance sector throughout the country.
You could also look for professional groups on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If you choose this route, it may help to create a professional account separate from your personal one and ensure that your professional details are up to date.
Similar to conventions but typically with a more formal agenda, conferences are an excellent way to meet people, continue your professional development and consult with other professionals. In addition, you may find conferences more geared towards creating solutions to specific problems or discussion of certain topics.
One of the simplest ways to network is by using your own personal connections. It may help to keep in contact with members of your graduating class from your alma mater. You could attend college reunions to keep up to date with your classmates.
You could also foster relationships with upper-level students who may be more advanced in their careers by the time you graduate. Having the same alma mater will help give you a quick rapport with other professionals, so it may help to attend various social events such as mixers aimed towards bringing different generations of alumni together.
Making use of connections from family and friends is another possibility. For example, consider reaching out to relatives in the financial or adjacent industries to see if they can give you any helpful introductions.
Consider taking additional courses. Not only will this help improve your knowledge base and employability, but you will get to meet and connect with other professionals. You could consider a course in a more specialized area, such as a fintech course, if you aim to move into a specialized field.
You should choose your course carefully to ensure that it will give you the best chance of networking. While many classes are being conducted online currently due to COVID-19, many still offer networking sessions over the course’s duration.
It may help to get in touch with your previous professors for advice and help on how to build your network. In addition, you could ask for any introductions they may be able to make. It is essential to approach your relationship with academic connections as you would any professional relationship.
Ideally, it would be best if you started cultivating your professional relationship with professors and lecturers as soon as you step foot in their lecture hall. You should behave in a way that recommends you to them, be punctual to classes, hand in assignments on time, and show that you are dedicated to your chosen career.
Cold Calls And Emails
Cold calling and emailing are common in the financial sector. They are particularly helpful for those who don’t have many personal connections to call upon. It is essential that you craft well-written emails and practice your telephone communication skills.
When drafting a cold email, it may help to take care that you show yourself in the best light. Your email should be well written, with no typos or grammatical errors. It may help to use spelling and grammar software to double-check your work. You could let your personality and passion for the industry show in your email, though be wary of sounding too casual. You could also include your resume in the email and request a short meeting, whether by phone or in person.
When cold calling, you may find that you have to make many calls before you are successful. The key here is patience and persistence. If you take a promising phone call, ensure that you follow up appropriately.
It is essential to follow up with any contacts you make. For example, you could send an email asking specific questions to help cement you in your contact’s mind. You could also send emails thanking professionals for opportunities such as job interviews or introductions. Ideally, you should avoid following up too aggressively – try to strike a balance between showing your interest without appearing over eager.
It may help to do your research into the different players attending events like conferences and business meetings. This will help show you are interested and keen to secure a professional relationship. However, you should limit your research to the professional sphere, for instance, by following attendees on LinkedIn before a meeting.
It can help to foster good working relationships with the assistant to the person you are trying to network with. Having a friendly professional relationship with an assistant can ensure that your calls are passed on and messages received in a timely manner. Many professionals undervalue the role of assistant, but they are a crucial gatekeeper that can help you get through the door.
It may help to make an effort to attend work social events. This can help you foster good relationships with coworkers and help keep you on their radar if any opportunities should come up in the future. You could also make sure you keep in touch socially with past coworkers.
If attending a social work event, it is important to dress professionally and avoid drinking too much alcohol. While work events with alcohol are perfectly acceptable, you should never drink so much that you forget you’re at a work event!
Success in networking will come down to a mixture of luck, perseverance and drive. It is essential to give yourself as many opportunities for networking as possible and be prepared to have patience. It may help to make a list of the different places you could look for networking opportunities.
If a chance arises, you should take it and make the most of the experience. You may not always succeed in fostering new networking contacts, but the more you reach out, the better you will become at securing lasting bonds.