It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
With Bermuda being such a small physical space and population, there is even more opportunity to create lasting relationships with people that matter. While the resume is always going to be an incredibly important piece of the recruitment puzzle in finding a role, how you develop your network and maintain it is equally as important, as strong connections within your field open up otherwise missed opportunities.
While the ability to network effectively doesn’t come naturally to everyone, the process of developing relationships with like-minded people can be developed. Whether you’re at the start of your career or have decades of experience, there are a few do’s and don’ts that apply to everyone:
Volunteering, playing sports or coaching kids, getting involved in the church or being active in your community are all great ways to meet people on a level footing and build your network.
Having an informative LinkedIn profile is a great way to show off your skills and make you more marketable. Keeping your profile fresh by updating it or regularly posting relevant articles are important ways to market yourself in the information age.
Attending events is great, but take your networking up a notch and really showcase your expertise by being a speaker/panelist instead of just an attendee. Presenting at an event will boost your credibility as a leader in your profession and will give you a platform to offer insight to others.
Get in there
Bermuda’s size provides excellent opportunities to rub shoulders with decision makers. There will be plenty of times when you don’t realise you’re having dinner or a drink at a table next to someone who is influential. That said, for the same reasons, be wary of your surroundings before you overindulge!
Tips for networking:
- Create your elevator pitch. A concise personal and professional profile of who you are.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Make every effort to engage with people you don’t know. Take the initiative.
- Ask questions, listen and learn. Anticipate the kind of people you’re likely to meet and what you would like to ask them. Then listen and learn from the response.
- Bring plenty of business cards and exchange them with people you speak with.
- Follow up and follow through. Thank people for their time, connect with them on social media and do whatever it is you said you would do.
- Be patient, developing contacts isn’t always about immediate results. Good connections and relationships are developed and payoff over time.
- Be prepared. Before heading to networking events, make sure you find out who is going and think about what you might ask them or want to learn from them.
- Don’t be “too social” – Remember those first impressions last, as do old impressions that might still be on your social media. Be careful not to overindulge in the wrong circumstances.
- Be careful about what you post online. You wouldn’t think to post your resume on Facebook or Instagram, but make no mistake, more employers research all social media when deciding who gets the job offer. Creating a professional image on LinkedIn is a great tool but don’t undermine it with what can be found on other social media.
Simply sending in job applications might not be enough – spend some time on building your network. Done right, it can provide a range of benefits, including the exchange of ideas, knowledge and information that can take your career to the next level and develop longstanding friendships along the way.
Keith Szmierek is the Recruitment Manager for Bermuda-based recruitment agency Frontier Financial Services Ltd. Established in 2000, Frontier provides both permanent and consulting recruitment for international and local business, as well as immigration and new business set-up, compliance and related professional services.