No matter where you work, you’d have heard the phrase – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. It applies to everyone, especially in the trade industry.
The best job opportunities aren’t posted on jobs sites like Gumtree, Seek or Indeed. In fact, 8 in every 10 jobs aren’t even advertised. Which means a good network is your best tool when it comes to hearing about better jobs, bigger contracts, or new opportunities in your area.
But not many people are confident that they know what it takes to start building and maintaining a decent professional network. So we’re here to talk you through it.
What Networking is Not
Networking is important, but it’s equally important to know what it isn’t. First off, networking isn’t about coming across as self-serving or showy, or like you’re trying to talk yourself up.
What Networking Is
What networking actually is simple: it’s about getting to know people and letting them get to know you. And we’re talking about professional networking here, not chatting someone up at a bar. So while it’s always good to get to know someone on a personal level, keep the chat professional. Asking questions about what kind of work they specialise in or how they got their start in the industry is better than talking about what you got up to after a few too many beers on the weekend.
One of the biggest tips anyone can take on board when it comes to learning how to network is changing their mindset. This is really important for shy people or those who aren’t that comfortable starting up a conversation with someone they don’t know.
Try thinking, “What’s something I can chat with that person about?” rather than “What am I going to say to them if they try to talk to me” or worse “I hope they don’t talk to me.”
Another tip is to take every chance you can to talk to other tradies, and those who work in and around your industry. At smoko or lunch while on a job are obvious times. But you might not at first realise the other ways to engage with people who can become valuable connections, including at suppliers’ outlets or warehouses, when chatting on the phone to a new subbie, or even while getting quotes for a new job or equipment. Every conversation has the potential to become a future opportunity or job – it’s all about the impression you leave.
Start networking today on goodwork! Download our app on the iOS App Store or Google Play. It’s super easy to use and was put together just for tradies to get in touch with other tradies and grow their professional networks. So swap some of your screen time for goodwork and watch your network grow.