Networking is defined as “the interaction with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts”. It’s a vital part of modern business but, for some people, it can be awkward and time-consuming. The term “procurement is a small world” is frequently used and it’s rare to find two contacts on LinkedIn who aren’t mutually connected.
Procurement has always had a strong appetite for business networking. I find professionals with established careers often valuing their network more than those early on their careers, who don’t overly invest in this activity. It is becoming increasingly common for people to hire talent through mutual contacts so, it’s worth remembering that networking is an essential part of advancing your career. Recent studies have shown that up to 80% of jobs are never advertised – they are filled by word of mouth.
LinkedIn also reports the following stats:
70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection.
80% of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success.
35% of surveyed professional say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn messaging has led to a new opportunity.
61% of professionals agree that regular online interaction with their professional network can lead to the way into possible job opportunities.
Throughout my career I have met many Heads of Procurement and CPO’s who have secured their current or previous roles through their network.
So, let’s break down 4 reasons why networking is the key to success, especially at the start of your career:
It will help you build relationships: Never underestimate the value someone can bring you at some point during your career. Staying in touch with contacts often leads to opportunity. Widening your circle of influences is beneficial - you will learn something new from each person you meet and you will get access to unknown opportunities. Staying close to your industry peer group will help you reach your full potential.
You learn lessons through others: Networking can give you fresh ideas and help you keep up-to-date with competitors. There are many opportunities to learn from the mistakes and successes of other people. Many blue-chip organisations often work collaboratively to learn best practice from each other, why shouldn’t you do the same?
It will help you build your reputation: Many important relationships are established through successful networking. The best procurement people rarely need to apply for job as they have carefully built their brand and reputation. Networking can branch out in many directions across many areas.
It will be your Insurance Policy: Today, more than ever, we go to extreme lengths to protect things we value. Whilst we rarely fall back on these policies, we are happier with insurance. Why should your career be any different? The best procurement people rarely need to apply for jobs because, most of them, have carefully built their brand and reputation. This opens doors for them to new opportunities: from getting approached about job opportunities, to getting noticed by people who would like to work with them, client leads, partnerships, etc.
Whether it’s online or face-to-face, networking broadens your horizons, boosts your confidence, widens your professional circle, gives you fresh ideas and can present you with new opportunities. There are a wide range of events for procurement professionals that cater for more senior contacts within the industry as well as for those who are looking to progress their careers.
Investigo Procurement host several networking events throughout the year. Our next event, “Steps to success”, a talent development workshop held on the 14th March at our offices, targets talented procurement specialists who are at the early stages of their career and have a relatively limited network. Two highly influential leaders within the industry Hannah O'Reilly and Vincent Gautheron will be joining us join us to discuss their thoughts on recognising and reaching their potential throughout their career.
If you would like to find out more about this event, or about future Investigo events, then please contact Tom Orr on firstname.lastname@example.org.