Networking as a finance professional is mandatory for professional growth and leveraging industry knowledge. To network in finance is to build and maintain relationships. The connections help in career management by presenting career growth opportunities, access to industry insider scoop, growth in technical knowledge, and more.
Purposes to Network in Finance
You should prioritize networking because building relationships with people already in the finance industry will benefit you in the long-run. You never know when the big career break pops out of nowhere!
Contacting alumni, personal relationships, cold calling and cold emailing are some way to set about building relations. Or, if you’re already in a finance job, talk to immediate colleagues and inter-departmental staff to build good connections. The main thing is to meet with people regularly. For instance, if you’re cold calling a senior finance professional, introduce yourself properly and invite him/her to lunch or dinner.
If you don’t any significant people in the finance industry, using cold-calls or cold-emails is perhaps the best way to initiate networking. However, remember that a lot of persistence and patience is needed to be successful. Compared to cold calling, cold emails are more effective because you’re giving the recipient time to get in touch with you.
The financial services industry is volatile. You’re actively networking for multiple purposes, such as:
- You come to know of strategic changes within the organisation or industry that can influence your position.
- You would be one of the firsts to know if consolidations are on the offing and what are your chances of getting the pink slip or getting retained.
- You come to know about internal political struggles and/or mergers that impact your career.
- You need to have trusted advisors or mentors for long-term career guidance.
Networking Strategies and Tactics
Whatever you want to learn, be it Finance or networking, there are strategies and tactics. Strategies are high level views like how to conduct informational interviews, how to approach people in groups and making a career plan. Tactics are how you say, what you say, how you approach a person and more.
You need both strategies and tactics to network in finance industry.
What key strategies do you need to apply? How to develop the mindset for networking? There are some dos and don’ts to follow for networking in finance.
Let’s learn what they are.
Do’s to Network in Finance
- If the school or college you are graduating from is not well known, put extra efforts in networking, that is, efforts to connect with the ‘right’ people. Talk to teachers and professors to give recommendations. If you’re interning, connect with senior managers, project owners and other staff. Keep in mind that only early bird catches the worm. Have an early start and establish contacts.
- Start networking months and months before you actually look for a job. You can do this simultaneously with your graduation. Utilize the interning period aptly. If you perform well, chances are high of getting absorbed in the same company.
- Networking is about getting more people to know you, so meet as many people as you can in the finance industry. There are no bad connections; every connection will be valuable in the long-run. Talk to people and make an effort to know them.
- When you meet people, be genuinely interested in them. Discuss about their background, interest, hobbies and any recent personal event. Practice this and you will build relationships. Remember that relationship marketing is a major component in finance.
- Understand that networking is a long-term effort. Networking in finance will continue till the day you retire. Start building relationships early on and it will improve people skills too.
- Change the strategy of networking if you are not getting results after investing months. Ask friends and people in Finance what is going wrong. Define expected results. What do expect by connecting with someone? Evaluate if you’re getting the desired results every couple of months.
- While networking, don’t overlook names of friends in your circle. Friends working in the finance industry form important connections. Check whether you are making progress.
As you move ahead in the career ladder, networking becomes a crucial skill. You can’t survive being a lone player. Always remember that at high level, networking is equal to building and maintaining relationships.
Don’ts to Network in Finance
- Don’t brag about qualifications, credentials or grades if you don’t have experience or proven expertise. Bragging is unprofessional and moreover, by doing so, you’re trying to look down on people, which is a very wrong attitude.
- Don’t talk about subjects like Market, Finance, Industry or Company when you meet finance professionals. They are doing it for at least 50 hours a week, like you. Instead, talk about their interests and hobbies. Treat them as friends, not colleagues.
- Don’t repeat the same strategy if you are not getting results. Take a step back and check what’s going wrong. For instance, you may come across people reluctant to connect with you or perhaps, your communication skills needs more polishing. Find the problem and fix it.
- Don’t focus on results only, as you may lose relationship building, learning and making friends in the finance industry.
Don’t jeopardize chances of getting good connections with unprofessional behaviour. Remember the purpose of networking in finance and you should be good.
If you want to make a career in Finance, you need to be a good networker too. Finding a job would not be difficult if you have the right skills, right attitude and excellent networking skills. Don’t stop networking even if you’ve got that dream job because the finance industry thrives on people skills. You need to be visible and approachable for building an awesome career.
Give people value and they will value having you part of their network. Once you build a group of connections, reach out to their networks as this is how you expand reach. Now, go ahead and use these strategies to network in finance and start building relationships.