Networking is the very foundation of most business processes. There are businesses who swear by it and think that their success can be attributed to it, but others believe that networks is a dying art. As a graduate it can be difficult to assess how important something is to be successful. Let’s take law graduates for example.
Law graduates are entering a period of extended hostility in the world of law and business. Between the decline in employment ratings and the increased cynicism of those who believe that law schools are dying out and are seeing a rapid decline. These factors can be extremely off putting for those who are exploring the options of law schools, and can be even more disheartening for those who have been accepted or who have graduated.
The world of law has always been a fierce and hostile environment, but making the right connections and brushing shoulders with the right people can be both useful and can help you to grasp the concept of what it means to be a lawyer. Law graduates can learn so much from those who have found their way amongst the sea of law professionals, and here are some of the key reasons why networking is an integral aspect of becoming a lawyer.
The art of networking:
Any successful professional will tell you that networking and brushing shoulders with the right people is one of the key elements to career progression. Developing powerful relationships and connections can allow you to gain an insight into the industry you are seeking to become a part of, it can help you to develop the right dialogue, professional conversational style, and above all else, can help you to meet the key people who can push your career forward. Whether you speak to hiring managers, whether you speak to CEOs or like-minded professionals who can give you an industry insight, all of these types of people will sow the seeds of your career and will help you to advance.
Networking relationships need to be a two-way street, those who seek to take everything and give nothing back will soon be found out and turned away from. Instead of solely focusing on what can be gained for yourself, you must first question what is in it for your networking partner. Everybody has something that they can offer, whether this is money, time, talent or performance and in most cases, valuable industry information. It’s important to develop a networking strategy before you enter the room. Find out who will be attending the networking event, consider everybody who could be beneficial to your end goal – whether this is getting industry information, making connections or getting a job. Once you have selected the people you wish to network with, you must now consider everything that you have to offer and refine your conversational techniques in order to “schmooze” with them.
Refining your advances competencies beyond lawyering:
When searching for an internship at a law firm, or applying for jobs within your niche after graduation, it would be foolish to believe that your initial interviews will be a walk in the park. There will be so many graduates, who have the same degree, who have the same grades and who are in the same league as yourself. You need to make yourself stand out to potential employers, and there is no better way to do this, than to meet with them face to face in a more relaxed networking setting. Interviews can be intense and can really bring out your less favourable qualities.
Employers in any business will seek to bring people into the team who can bring value to the firm, rather than those who solely have the necessary legal doctrines and qualifications. Having the skill sets and redeemable qualities such as emotional intelligence and business development will take you far with employers, qualities such as this can be refined and tried out in the networking arena. In order to be successful in business development and in order to refine your emotional intelligence, you must firstly have to speak to people, learn how to read them, learn what they want, and how you can take it from them. All of these skills are the core foundations of networking, which take time and practice to perfect.
The importance of maintaining a strong and connected network:
The absolute bottom line to securing a job at a law firm or business comes down to how well connected you are – this goes beyond having many connections on Linkedin! Within your respected niche, it is likely that CEOs will know CEOs, hiring managers will know other hiring managers and so on. If you make connections with the right people, and make a positive impression on the right people, then you will be more susceptible to be considered for a job. The law industry is driven by relationships and reputation, the more people you know and make a good impression on, the more successful you will become. Making connections and networking will be an integral part of your career until the day you retire, this is not a fruitful task that will gain you your initial position. Networking can open the door to new employers, new partners and new clients. One of the most well known statistics when it comes to law employments, is that “40% of law positions are advertised, and the rest are filled within a network”. If you want to open yourself to new opportunities, then it’s integral that you put yourself out there and pave the way to your success.
Alice Porter works for a Dispute Resolution Solicitors in Manchester and aims to share her business knowledge with like minded professionals.