Posted by Robert Half Finance & Accounting on Monday, September 7, 2015 - 08:00 | Follow me
This is the first in a series of blog posts on networking for finance and accounting professionals.
As Labor Day signals the last day of summer, it also extends an open invitation to finance and accounting professionals with this career advice: Step up your networking game, whether you do it in person or online, for the sake of your career.
“Networking isn’t just a supplemental job-hunting tactic at this point — it’s the primary tactic,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. “It’s all about reputation and who you know.”
Whether you’re one of those finance and accounting professionals on an active or passive job search, or you’re aiming to climb the finance career ladder, it’s crucial to forge relationships with colleagues by getting to know them in a friendly and professional manner — with networking.
Multiple Ways to Network
Before you start scouring LinkedIn, bear in mind that in a recent Robert Half survey of CFOs, 50 percent of respondents said they prefer to keep in touch with colleagues via email. The second preferred method was networking at industry events, while social media came in at a distant third. These findings stand in stark contrast with those from a similar survey conducted in 2012, where CFOs cited social media as the preferred method of networking.
McDonald says that email is ideal for busy CFOs who may not have the time to attend industry events or surf social media. However, he also emphasizes the importance of face-to-face contact.
“Exchanging ideas over lunch or attending a conference with people in your industry is a more personal way to develop a rapport with other professionals,” he says. “Social media offers a vehicle for quickly widening one’s reach and gaining exposure to a broader range of news and insights.”
Staying ‘Top of Mind’ Through Networking
Much as an informational interview gives you the chance to appear on a potential hiring manager’s radar, networking makes you more visible and can prompt that hiring manager to think of you first when a job opens up. Many jobs are never advertised, so making your presence and your skill set known puts you ahead of the crowd.
As such, it’s always beneficial to keep your social media pages like LinkedIn and Pinterest updated with your latest professional news and skills. If you use Twitter, you can post comments or link to recent articles that address the latest practices in finance and accounting. Target the specific area you’d like to work in, and make any news pertaining to it your focus on social media. Tweet as often as you can — a few times a day, ideally — and retweet other professionals in the industry. Follow hiring managers and CFOs in companies you’re interested in. If you retweet them often, your name will continue to appear in their notifications, and you’ll be fresh in their minds.
Creatively Expanding Your Network
As you use networking for your professional advantage, don’t eliminate anyone — family members, friends, former schoolmates, neighbors or even professionals like your dentist or doctor. By speaking with these people, letting them know what you’re interested in and conveying to them your skills and knowledge, you may be led to someone in their networks looking to hire someone just like you.
No doubt about it, networking can advance your finance and accounting career.
Watch for upcoming posts on remembering the basics, crafting introductions and following networking etiquette.