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Maintain your professional network

Maintain your professional network

Keeping or even developing your professional network was essential during the confinement period, especially for some freelancers. While in normal times, 70% of hiring is done through the network, today, due to the health crisis, recruitment is 100% online. And some businesses continue to have needs! Mastering "professional networking" is one of the essential skills to not miss any current and future opportunities.

The return on investment can be long, but working on your professional network means working on your future, and above all having the feeling of increasing your control over it, which is valuable for better managing the stress inherent in this situation!

Before any approach, redefine your priorities

Confinement could have been an opportunity to reinvent oneself professionally, to redefine one's priorities, in short “turn the hazard into an opportunity “. Winston Churchill said:“a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. “So let’s revise our state of mind, if necessary, and why not take the time offered to us with this new period of deconfinement where many are still on short-time working or teleworking?

Take the time to enjoy real moments shared with the family, to observe the arrival of spring, the buds even on a balcony, to listen to the sparrow perched on a window sill, or even to virtually visit museums where we have always dreamed of going, of listening to concerts missed because of overwork... In short, why not start working on a relevant balance between professional life and personal life...and redefine your priorities personal?

As for our professional field , let's know how to identify the areas, the activities to be reinforced, developed by these good questions:What do I know how to do well, what do I like to do, what do we need, why? can i be paid? In short, refocus on your IKIGAÏ say the Japanese in their new art of living at work (IKIGAÏ integrates the joy of living and its raison d'être).

What attitude to develop to multiply the opportunities, the chances of success

According to Philippe Gabilliet , professor of psychology at ESCP Europe (Paris), specialist in mental strategies for success, if developing a successful network requires work, talent, motivation, good tools, it also requires real skill. This skill, he defines it as “the ability to create the conditions for the appearance of opportunities”, to create “combinations of circumstances”.

According to him, this requires 4 essential postures:

  • The first is vigilance associated with curiosity; that is to say, to listen, to keep a watch on all new needs, requests... "Luck only favors prepared minds" said Pasteur.
  • The other quality to develop is anticipation :"to have a project in advance" stimulated by listening to these needs and requests.
  • According to him, “A network is not just an address book for itself; to make it live is to know how to connect and be an opportunity for others is the best way to create opportunities
  • Bounce on your failures as "project material" is the 4th th attitude put forward by Philippe Gabilliet.

Getting back to networking

This works mainly in the tertiary sector. Before focusing on digital networking, also think about “live” contact possibilities on platforms (Eventbrite,  Meet up, etc.) which offer workshops, conferences, professional aperitifs.

After having redefined your priorities, it will be easier to determine your objectives:find new professional opportunities, share ideas, meet partners, learn about sectors of activity or trades... Also, before going to the meet new people, it is useful to think about what you want the network to bring you even if your objectives are likely to evolve.

  • Personalize your approach, it is first of all to carry out research and targeting. What are my expectations? Who is concerned ? Identify the companies, the professions that interest me, then the people who will be able to meet my needs.
  • How to approach? It is easier to start by approaching your network already in place, and why not by asking for a connection with a third person? When it comes to making direct contact yourself, then you have to make the difference with a short and precise personalized message:why are you contacting her, why is she the right person? This will encourage you to come back. You can also request to be put in touch with the right recipient if necessary.
  • How to animate your profile to stay visible? This requires being active, "like" the posts of your contacts, share content relevant to your goals and produce articles to establish your expertise. Capitalize on professionally oriented social networks (LinkedIn for example):Actively participating in a group helps to network with other professionals. This allows you to build an online reputation by sharing valuable and relevant information about your industry. It also increases the visibility of your work.
  • How to nurture your network? " The art of networking begins with the “follow up! say the experts. Once or twice a year, don't hesitate to click on a profile you know and ask for news. The main thing is to always keep in touch. Networking works both ways:it's important to thank and update people who have taken time for you, to talk about the progress of your projects. You also have to know how to give when you have received like connecting people who have helped you, but also, advising, informing, sharing news. If there are changes in professional activities, if someone evolves, changes position, take the opportunity to send a short message of congratulations. But be careful not to insist or over-solicit!

It's up to you!

Source:Success a question of luck? Philippe Gabilliet.