Networking… What is networking?
Networking is when someone creates a group of acquaintances or associates and regularly keeps in contact with these people. For example, if you want to find out more about IBM, you can network with someone working at IBM. By networking with someone from IBM, you’re able to find out more about IBM, and the person working at IBM can find out more about you, and what you do. There should be a mutual benefit between the person and the people in their network. A trust should be built over the time you have communicated with a person in your network.
A network can consist of managers, contractors, colleagues, friends etc. Networking makes you more known, can raise your profile, and can provide you with job opportunities.
When I joined IBM, I wanted a role within SAP (Systems Applications Products). I did not have any knowledge in this area, nor did I have any contacts in my network that worked in a SAP role. My Task Manager, and People Manager were aware that I was interested in working in this role but there was little they could do from their side. After expanding my network on my first client site, I was able to express this interest to more people, which led to myself getting a SAP Contact.
When I first spoke to this contact, I gave them background information on who I was, what I was doing, and the reasoning for my interest in the SAP Area. I also returned questions and found out more about the person. I spoke to this person a few times a month and obtained a trustworthy relationship with them. By speaking to them frequently over the phone and over IBM SameTime (instant messenger), they were able to find out what type of person I was. I was able to show the contact that I was a proactive person, willing to help other people and worked hard.
In January 2016, I was looking for a new role and a new project. It was one of my yearly goals to join a SAP project, and eventually undertake a role in the SAP Area, so I wanted to make this happen. It had been over a year since first contacting this person, and I had kept in contact with them throughout my time on different client sites. When looking for a new role, I asked this person, if I could shadow someone on the client site that he works on, to find out more about SAP. As this person had never received a request such as this one before, he spoke to the leadership team on the account that he worked on. The contact explained who I was, what I did, and my interest in SAP. He also gave them information on what he thought of me as a person, and about some key attributes which he had identified in me from talking to me. This led to them creating a role for me on the client site. The role was a SAP Performance Analyst role.
By networking, I was able to get a role in the area that I wanted, whilst making myself more known to different people. As mentioned above, Networking makes you more known, and can provide you with job opportunities, which Is what it did for me.
I’m still undertaking this role, and I have learned a lot about SAP. I am enjoying this role, and I am glad that I reached out to my network when I was looking for a new role.
If you’d like any more questions on networking, IBM, the IBM Apprenticeship Scheme, feel free to comment, email me AvtarMar@UK.IBM.COM or tweet me @AvtarMarway.