Slower is better for networking

La Femme Correspondent

WANT better networking? Then slow down, because long-term relationships are key to career success, and “slow” is the new “fast fix”, say advisors.

We’ve all met one: the person who zooms around a venue like a Tasmanian devil on speed, handing out business cards and in the process annoying far more people than he or she connects with.

South Africa’s leading career experts are advising a new approach to successful networking for job-seeking graduates.

The principle is quality, not quantity, according to the latest Careers SA, an annual online career guide published on www.careerssa.net with official partners Accenture and Standard Bank.

“Seventy to 80% of job vacancies aren’t advertised in newspapers or on the internet,” reads the networking guide. “These vacancies are filled by unsolicited applications and ‘word of mouth’ – proof that networking really does pay off.”

But key is avoid “fly-by-night” networking.

According to the website, the top 10 avenues for successful networking all focus on building relationships that have substance, from participating in a company training programme to participating in parties. Even sports clubs have their place on the list.

Networking relationships, like all relationships, require effort and input, it seems.

“You should continue your networking activities even after you’ve found a job,” Careers SA advises. “At this stage, your focus will be on maintaining your contacts by, for example, attending meetings and conferences or keeping in touch with regular phone calls and e-mails.”

Samantha Crous, country manager of the CRF Institute, the organisation behind Careers SA, says that the challenge is maintaining this kind of “slow” approach towards keeping sincere, substantial relationships in such a fast-paced working world.

So, slow down, take stock of the relationships you have, and nurture them. Look at the benefits you already have at your disposal.

Then look at where the gaps are, and then, when you meet someone who has the potential to help you out – make that relationship a meaningful one.

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