It is true that our habits and actions form an integral part of our lives, which ultimately will dictate how we behave, think, act and conduct ourselves. We can bring about a change within ourselves only if there is a concerted effort on our part to review, understand and modify those habits.
To form a network, you will have to start being involved with a large data science community and meet a lot of people. YES, true networking is about building relationships and not a one-sided demand where you want to get some favor from someone. And the best way to build a mutual relationship is to add value in return. For instance, Achievements show you have something to give, not just take.
Once you get into the field of Data Science, you will have to network with your managers, other data scientists, data analysts, data engineers, marketing executives, clients, and other stakeholders, etc., who can help you leverage your skills and knowledge in your data science career. Creating a network fosters the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and by developing a long-lasting relationship, gives you an advantage at every stage of your career.
The best way to network is through in-person, face-to-face communication, with people who have knowledge and experience of having done a few projects, and with whom you can co-work and grow in your career path. The connection you build and develop has a long-lasting effect on the way you think and work. Though it is not possible to have a face-to-face conversation always, you can always keep in touch through virtual events, forums, social media, and emails.
Networking can help you find opportunities for new collaborations, career advancements, and mentorships. If you want to know the secrets of building a network, then be interested in other people which could mean sharing content, engaging with other people, etc. Merely connecting with someone on Facebook or Linkedin or in-house, just for a personal chat or for having fun, does not count as good networking. Good networking must leave a lasting positive impression on someone’s mind, such that if any requirement arises in the future, you would be in their mind. The best way to attract a mentor is to create something worthy of the mentor’s attention. Upskill / Reskill yourself on a regular basis, and instead of having to push your way in, you will be pulled in by the networks, you have previously developed.
These relationships are not something that happens overnight. Getting to know someone helps if you want to build a lasting relationship with them and being able to communicate your needs in a non-needy way is extremely important, without expecting anything in return and genuinely conveying your current aspiration. In such a situation, If any opportunity arises in the future, the manager will definitely have you in their mind.
Networking the way we know it and the way we have been told to do it, is a completely dead concept. For instance, making a random connection with people expecting to reap self-centered benefits, such as getting into new projects, landing a job interview, new collaborations, etc. In doing so, they start boasting about themselves, their caliber, knowledge, skills, etc., due to which they end up being self-important and turning off others. Therefore, instead of being a marketing commodity and selling yourself, aim to provide value to the people you meet. Adding value could mean something like forwarding a related article you just read, introducing yourself to someone who you met a few moments back, sharing your experience, etc., and Always thinking of how each other can benefit from your conversation.
Tips for Building Professional Relationships :
- Know your goals: Focus your networking efforts on activities, groups, and people that are most likely to bring you closer to your goals.
- Make a list of thought leaders in your field: After conceiving your network make a list of people you consider as thought leaders in your field and people you admire in your industry, influencers who can provide good analysis, business leaders who you consider as role models, or individuals currently working in roles you aspire to. While you may not be able to reach out to them directly, try to find out their organizations, community, and affiliations. This can serve as a starting point in your networking journey.
- Leverage the people around you for various events: Try to recognize people whom you have met at previous events and try to have a meaningful conversation with them. One-on-one conversation is the best. Joining a small group of 2 to 4 people is also a good option especially if you are nervous or do not know what exactly to speak. But, when the group is large, you will lose focus.
- Identify people far beyond your network: Meeting professional groups through webinars, and social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., Meetups, conferences, podcasts, etc., can help in creating your network. You can join those specialized groups and socialize with them.
- Honor your seniors: When you speak to a person who is senior to you, allow them to speak, and ask questions that are related to the topic. This is the best way to establish a relationship irrespective of your position. “Active” listening instead of “Passive” listening is very important here.
- Make your work speak for itself: If you want to build a good network, you will have to create something interesting and share it with others. There will be people who will be interested to network with you. For instance, why did people want to meet Dr. Abdul Kalam? Not because he was a President of India, but because he was a great visionary and the contributions he made in the field of space technology were immense. People would generally like to keep track of him and keep themselves updated on the latest trends, ask genuine queries, and create value in their careers. \
- Asking insightful questions at the conference: will help you stand out from the crowd of attendees.
- Be mindful of your body language: Your Body Language can have a significant impact on how people perceive you. It can make you seem confident, warm, and open. There are good practices that you can adopt regardless of whether you are networking or not viz., offering firm handshakes, positioning your body directly to the person you are talking to, smiling and making eye contact, uncrossing your arms and legs, sitting straight, etc. Following these postures can help you overcome your anxiety and stress.
- Always keep in touch. The most important part of networking is follow-up action. Don’t let the newly formed connection end there. You could exchange your Business Card or send out a LinkedIn invite and get connected and keep in touch periodically. LinkedIn is a powerful and versatile tool to get connected.
- Refrain from asking for referrals from the person you recently met: People are not likely to refer someone they don’t know. You need to establish a good rapport with that person, or that person should be known to you, only then ask for a referral.
- 11. Networking post Interviews: After you complete your interview for a job or internship, do connect with the interviewer on LinkedIn irrespective of whether your interviews got through well or not. Be sure to thank them and follow up for another opportunity that could arise in the future. Most of the memorable interactions have been with people who take the initiative and follow up on the matter. It shows your interest in the job.
- Contributing to open-source projects: will help you build a strong resume and connect with other project contributors. Contributing to project documentation is equally valuable and appreciated. Open-source projects community loves contributors, and the community is ready to help each other out.
Various ways you can network
- Become a mentor
- Meetups and Conference
- Using social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
- Blog / Vlog
Benefits of networking:
1. Build Confidence: Helps build self-confidence which facilitates better interaction with people who share your values.
2. Meet professionals at different levels: Tapping into the expertise of their peers can ensure your professional growth.
3. Exchange ideas and thoughts: A successful career is often a pool of information or ideas you have accumulated over time.
Building a strong professional network can be invaluable for your career. We all have different preferences when it comes to building a relationship. But, various questions arise in our mind such as “What if I look nervous”, “What if I fail to make a good impression”, and “What if I don’t know what to say”. The above-mentioned Best Practices or Tips for Building Professional Relationships will help you to overcome the problem and become more confident in yourself. Also, staying engaged with your network and remaining open to new possibilities can set up a professional support system that can help you whenever any need arise in the future.
Getting started in data science can be a challenging task. But, the influence a network has, can help you land in your dream job, make professional connections, and grow in your career path. I hope you will find these tips helpful. Contact edujournal (www.edujournal.com) for further queries.
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