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  • Writer's pictureThe Next Step

5 ways to network like a pro

In Germany about two thirds of job seekers find their next career opportunity through people they know.

That means having good relationships with people around you is paramount when it comes to building a lasting and successful career in Germany.

You don't have to be best friends with everybody you meet, but making a good first impression and maintaining a solid professional relationship with them will help you a lot when taking the next step in your career.

Here are some pointers to get you started with networking today

1. Start before you think you need to

Starting to build your professional network when you're at your wits end already is like starting to cook a nice meal 3 days after you last bite to eat. It's way too late. You can have a comfortable job and be happy with everything, but still keep your eye out for cool contacts and useful resources people can bring your way. You never know what lies in your future or where people around you will end up on their professional journey. It might just happen great things come your way because you`ve maintained good working relationships with people and kept in touch when you don't feel the need to.

Consider networking like keeping up with friends - you don't want to hear from them only when they need something!

2. Consider everybody, but don`t go for just anybody

What kind of people do you want to network with? Check out different Facebook groups, InterNations platform for other expats, visit job fairs and networking events to get an idea of who would be the people you'd like to have in your network and who would benefit from having you in theirs.

The same goes to your group of friends - do they have people that you`d benefit from being introduced to and vice versa? Almost any social situation can bring you leads for new opportunities - you need to understand and appreciate that fact. Your main product is you - know how to stay yourself but also leave a lasting, positive impression to people you meet.

Having said that - don't just fill you time circling back to every single person for a professional connection. Consider what value you could bring them professionally and what they could contribute into yours. Professional relationships are like friendships and just like with good friends - you don't pour your resources into just anybody.

3. Keep it light and easy

Getting hot and heavy straight away is not a good tactic to use in networking. Make sure people get to know you and not just what you do for work or what`s written on your cv. Keep an eye out not to overshare details about your intimate/personal life, but build genuine connections with people - because they are also humans and not just because you think they might want to hire you for your experience and expertise.

4. Add value before asking for opportunities

A good formula for asking for favours/opportunities is - add, add, add, ask.

Yes, it sounds like a lot of free labour and not much in return but, trust us - building yourself a reputation for being reliable, trustworthy and not just out for gain will go a long way! Make sure you add value in a way that is also enjoyable to you - volunteer to help out with a project you`re interested in, organise an event you wish someone invited you to etc. That way adding value actually ends up being fun and beneficial in more ways than one.

5. Professionalism doesn't stop at the door

Being known as the fun guy/gal is always cool, but being known for the guy/gal who gets too carried away not so much. As we said in point number 2 - you never know where your next opportunity will come from. So, if you`re amongst people you maybe don`t know too well keep it clean and simple - be yourself but on good behaviour. Especially if you can sense people stereotyping you - be the example that makes them rethink that stereotype.

Let us know what other tips you've used and if any of these ones have come in handy for you!

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