Getting a job in Clinical research or Regulatory Affairs can be tough at the best of times. Have you ever wondered how some people seem to know everybody and they are always the first to know what is happening in the industry and what roles are available? These are the best “Networkers”. I would like to share with you some of the secrets that these great Networkers use to build up their contacts to develop their own business and to increase their potential when looking for a new job in the Pharmaceutical marketplace.
Being well connected to your network gives you the edge in nearly every work situation. Whether you are searching for a new job, tendering for business or just facilitating good working relationships. In the current economic climate a good network also puts you in a strong position if your company re-organises. If you are more visible you stand a greater chance of being seen as important to the organisation so will not be let go or if you do unfortunately get made redundant a strong network will make it significantly easier to find an alternative position. Some surveys say that up to 75% of vacancies are filled through networking either with recruiters or though direct contacts before any advert is written so building up your personal network in these troubled times is well worth the effort.
If we look at some of the ways you can physically build your network. These include:
Using your current network and asking for Introductions – You will already have a vast network of contacts but you may not realise it. Try this exercise and make a list of your connections:
- Friends and friends of friends
- Past friends
- Intermediaries – Eg bank manager, accountant, solicitors
- Associations / memberships – sport, social, political
- Children’s friends parents
- Clients and customers
- Work Colleagues
- Former Colleagues
You will find that you have well in excess of 150 people that are already in your network. Imagine how many people you could reach if each of those 150 people introduced you to just 1 other person. That would double your network overnight.
Social Networking – Try networking using Linked in (www.linkedin.com) or social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. It might not be “your thing”, but being registered on these sites provide you with a valuable tool when seeking an introduction to people as well as keeping in touch with people you have known for a long time. Spending some time networking this way will surprise you as to how many people you have in common with others.
Read Business Cards – Many of the top networkers are able to “soak up the basics” in seconds when they meet people. The first thing they do when they are given a business card is to read it. Not only is this good manners but reading it helps to “fix” the details like name, job title and the name of their organisation in your memory. It also gives you a starting point for conversation. For example you could ask what their job entails or if they have been with company X for long etc.
Jot it down – If you want to capture more information you can even ask your contact if they mind you jotting down some notes from your conversation on their business card. This will help jog your memory in the future but also is a useful place to jot down any action points like sending them information or getting in touch again at a later stage. Beware doing this with contacts from cultures where this is deemed to be unacceptable. If you do this properly, you will be able to recall this information at a later stage and it will help with your networking.
Keep in touch – A good way to maintain ongoing contact with your network is to keep in touch. If you have noted down what interests your new contact has and you stumble across something related to this that you think may interest them send them a quick note to alert them to it. In todays modern age its very easy to drop an email through to a contact with a URL of a story that may interest them and a note to say that “I saw this and thought it might interest you”. Its subtle, keeps you in touch and shows that you were listening when you were talking.
Use Signposters and Network linchpins – In all of our networks we see somebody that is better networked than any body else. These strong Networkers can help you. Not only do they understand the importance and the value in having a wide network but they will also be able to introduce you more naturally to other people because they are used to doing it. You can use these people to introduce you to people that you would like to meet. In my industry (recruitment), recruiters occupy a position as a Signposter. Its our job to have a good network and to introduce people to each other. Try and use these existing networks to your advantage and ask for the introductions that you want.
Prepare for Meetings and Conferences – How often have you turned up at meetings and conferences not knowing who would be there or finding out afterwards that somebody you wanted to meet was there and you missed the opportunity. Preparing for meeting and asking for delegate lists or observing who will be speaking that you may wish to connect with means that you can either make sure that you meet these people by looking out for them or contact them in advance to arrange to have a chat with them at the conference / meeting.
Using some or all of these techniques and tools will help you grow your network quickly and efficiently and will give you the edge in the future whether you are looking for a new job, promotion or just ask for advice from a professional.
If you would like to discuss these techniques further or would like to talk with Jonathan Hart-Smith from CK Clinical he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01438 743047.
CK Clinical (www.ckclinical.co.uk) is a specialist recruitment company working in the Pharmaceutical industry with particular expertise in Clinical R&D Jobs, Regulatory affairs Jobs, Clinical Operations Jobs, Pharmacovigilance Jobs, Medical Affairs Jobs and Medical Information Jobs.