How to use networking to build a career in the tech industry
Planning to pursue a career in tech? Networking is the key to getting ahead, making friends in high places and scoring your dream job. Whether you’re looking for a role in a tech giant or a startup on the rise, here are our top tips.
1. Get online
When you think of networking, you probably imagine a room full of people you don’t know, which can be intimidating. However, the internet is your friend when it comes to networking, especially in the tech industry. Make use of tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with useful contacts, and approach them in a polite and friendly way. Keep your message concise and relevant, demonstrate your knowledge of the company and profession you want to work in, and flatter their egos by asking for advice.
2. Friends first
You might think that the only valuable people to network with are those in the position to give you a job. However, there’s just as much value in getting to know people in a similar situation to you. This enables you to get useful, actionable advice and hear about opportunities. Meetups are the best place to achieve this. If you’re lucky, you’ll make some great friends who will become a strong network in years to come as you all progress in the industry together. You’ll also have a buddy for the next big event, so you don’t have to turn up on your own.
3. Quality over quantity
Networking can be exhausting, especially if you’re attending lots of events, meeting hundreds of people, and don’t feel any closer to your goal. There’s a common misconception that the key to success is to have as many contacts as possible - we all know that person who adds everyone they’ve ever been on an email chain with on LinkedIn, and won’t leave a room without giving every person a business card. But actually, the only contacts that will truly help you out are ones you get to know and build a genuine relationship with.
4. Stay on target
There’s no point going to networking events just for the sake of it, and it can be demoralising if you aren’t meeting relevant people. Therefore, it’s best to be more targeted when choosing which events to attend. A great strategy is to make a list of the companies you’d love to work for and find out if they are hosting, sponsoring or attending any upcoming events. This will be your chance to meet the person who holds the key to your dream job. Be prepared, be confident, and prove to them that you’re exactly who they need on their team.