When accountants, lawyers, and consultants think of networking, they think of the events that they attend after work. Oftentimes, they think of lunches, coffees or the activities that they do off the clock. Many don’t even consider that they are sitting on a goldmine of opportunity every single day. Here is why internal networking, and internal networking strategies could be your secret weapon to career progression and how to use it.
What is internal networking?
Do you work in a big 4 firm, accounting firm or law firm? Chances are that you have hundreds of colleagues working there. It could be in your department or in other service lines, different countries and on every level. Internal networking or an internal networking strategy is developing these relationships and it is making connections with the people you work with every day. Moreover, it’s also about uncovering opportunities. It’s just like networking with people outside of your firm and your industry, it’s just, with an internal networking strategy, there’s already a level of familiarity, credibility, and trust.
Internal networking is the key to your career development
Making connections and networking with your co-workers can be incredibly beneficial to your career progression. This applies to you whether you’re new to a firm and want to get the lie of the land or you’re already well-established and have your sights set on a promotion Developing internal relationships could lead to you finding:
- Potential mentors or advisors
- Upcoming professional development opportunities
- New job opportunities that are not publicly advertised
- New business
If this isn’t a secret weapon to propel your career forwards, we don’t know what is!
Internal networking strategies (how to use your secret weapon)
Ever heard of the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Yes, sometimes opportunities come purely out of the hard work that you put in which is recognised. However, sometimes, an opportunity can come from a connection that you have that knows you and what skills you bring to the table. Here are a few internal networking strategies to increase your connections (and hopefully the opportunities that may come with them).
• Be friendly
It’s easy to get caught up in work and to walk around the office without paying attention to others. Some of us can even appear to be quite unapproachable because it seems that we’re not paying attention to how we look. Get into the habit of smiling and saying ‘hi’ to people. If you find yourself in the lift with someone new, introduce yourself.
• Use lunch to your advantage
Head to the common break room sometimes for lunch and ask if you can join someone. You’ll be surprised by the conversations that you have in a less formal setting. Is there a certain group that goes out for lunch? Recommend a place to them and see if you get invited along.
• Welcome newcomers
Many employees tend to not give their time to newcomers. Nonetheless, they are people with valuable experiences and contacts too, so why shouldn’t you? Help them settle in by giving office advice, directions or asking them if they want to go to lunch. They’ll be really appreciative for the efforts you make and you may find that their expertise is something that you want to learn more about.
• Say ‘Yes’ to office invites
It’s really easy to say no to that ‘going away party’ on the 4th floor but sometimes, prioritising an hour to meet new people in different departments can be extremely beneficial. Moreover, it’s also your chance to be seen and to showcase your skills and expertise. So start looking at these invites as real opportunities. (Discover how to balance client work and networking)
• Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn
When you’ve met someone new at work, connect with them on LinkedIn. This allows you to see where else they have worked and what skills and experience they have as well as building your online network. You never know what big connections that they have either!
Start networking in your workplace
What is internal networking? It’s the secret weapon to career progression. If you’re looking to increase your visibility to get ahead within your company or you’re keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities elsewhere, the most valuable resource surrounds you on a daily basis. You just have to know how to use it.