Networking is a bit of a dirty word for a lot of people, and tradies are no exception. When most people think of networking, they’re imagining a corporate suit in a bar schmoozing to get his next sale, or a super awkward professional ‘meetup’ where there won’t be anyone they know.
But that’s not what networking has to be!
Networking is just getting to know more people in your industry. These are people that you can learn from, or that you might call and ask for advice. If you build strong relationships with lots of people then at some point they might even think of you when a job comes up – a nice added bonus.
Most tradie jobs aren’t advertised on public job sites, they’re filled because someone knows someone who needs a plasterer, cabinet maker, electrician etc. But if you don’t have that many people in your network, then your chances of being called about jobs like that are pretty much zilch.
So how can you get into it and do some cringe-free networking? We’ve got you covered.
List your Current Network
Seems basic, but you can start your networking plan just by listing everyone you know who works in the industry. Most people start with their previous employers, family and friends and find it hard to get much further than that. But your network actually goes far wider than that. How about where you did your apprenticeship back in the day, or your old trade school buddies? How about friends of your mum, dad or family who work in the industry? Or people at your footy or cricket club? Even someone who did work on your own house or renovations could be added to your professional network.
Stay in Touch
You should really be staying in touch with people in your network regularly, even when you don’t have anything you want or need. At the end of the day, networking is about building good relationships, and just checking in or saying hello is a good way to do it. That way when you do want something, you won’t feel as awkward about getting in touch.
Before you do reach out, think about exactly what you are looking for. If you are looking for a job change or a new opportunity, you’d want to put in more effort than if you are just looking for some information about the pay or conditions in a new trade or area.
For a small favour or advice, you can probably get away with just asking the question over the phone or text, rather than trying to organise to meet up.
Think in advance about what you’re going to say on the message, email, or phone call so you don’t come across too pushy. So, if you’re looking for a new opportunity, you could say something like:
“Hey (insert name here), I was thinking about branching out and looking for new work in (insert area here) and thought you might have some good advice. Have you got an afternoon free in the next week or two? I’ll buy you a coffee/beer and throw a few questions at you if you’re game”.
If you want to get a 100% certified cringe-fee head start on building your network then all you need to do is download the goodwork app, set up a profile and see who’s already there from your list.