Network or nothing: 5 networking tips for professional development

ByHanover Team
Posting date: 06 March 2024

While some experienced executives might assume they’ve mastered networking, the reality is that networking skills are always evolving. Business changes rapidly and the traditional networking paradigm has shifted - so no matter your position, you have to adapt.


In this article, we share practical networking tips for building robust, meaningful connections that open doors to new career opportunities, even at executive level. 

What is networking?

Let’s start with the basics. Networking involves building and nurturing professional relationships as a means of accelerating professional growth. Rather than a singular action, it relies on the strategic blend of interpersonal skills like:

  • Active listening
  • Effective communication
  • Emotional intelligence


These soft skills are pivotal in executive networking, allowing you to connect with others on a personal level and break out of the transactional nature of professional interactions.


The online sphere is important too, and despite its ubiquity, it’s crucial not to overlook the value of LinkedIn. This platform is seeing record-breaking engagement, with conversations increasing by 43%. As executives, you stand to gain significantly by leveraging LinkedIn to share insights and expand your professional base.

Why are strong networking skills important for everyone?

Strong networking skills are vital at all career levels, enabling senior leaders to ascend rapidly and executives to unlock developmental opportunities.


Remember the saying: your network is your net worth. As Porter Gale said about her book of the same name, your social capital, not your financial capital, is your most important asset.


Nothing proves this better than Oracle’s purchase of Eloqua for more than 200% its estimated public market value. This deal was a direct result of the strong relationships Paul Teshima, co-founder of Eloqua, had built with people at Oracle.


Learn from this: networking is a full-circle ability across all industries, and when you master interpersonal skills, you lay the groundwork for success. 

Hanover’s top networking tips

Harnessing our expertise in connecting candidates to jobs, and jobs to candidates, at Hanover we can offer a unique perspective. Matchmaking in the professional world is, after all, a form of networking, where individuals are brought together based on shared interests to foster a mutually beneficial relationship.


Drawing on this experience, we have put together five top networking tips so you can hone your skills and enhance your career prospects. 

Tip 1: Perfect your 60-second spotlight

If you’ve worked in business, you know what an elevator pitch is and have probably perfected yours. But the real art lies in getting it to hit with the most impact within that crucial 60-second spotlight.

  • Tailor your pitch to your audience. At networking events, take a moment to build rapport. Online, get to the point quickly and highlight your value.
  • Include a hook, like a thought-provoking question, to inspire conversation and position yourself as a thought leader.
  • Practise active listening by incorporating elements from the ongoing conversation. This shows attentiveness and keeps your pitch relevant.
  • Regularly refine your pitch to be ever-ready to seize opportunities and leave a memorable impression.

Tip 2: Find a common denominator

Initiating a successful networking conversation often starts with finding a common denominator - a shared hometown, mutual acquaintance or common interest. 


Shared ground makes you more memorable and, crucially, likeable. Don’t shy away from personal touches; people want to do business with people they like, as Paul Teshima has demonstrated.

Tip 3: Ask for advice

Establishing a connection is more profound when you seek guidance from someone you admire. In fact, 82% of professionals believe that mentoring relationships help foster meaningful connections.


Even if you have 10 years’ experience, harness this power of mentorship by proactively seeking advice from seasoned professionals. By showing interest in their insights, you not only flatter them but also gain valuable knowledge and a long-term confidante.

Tip 4: Recognise that you can learn from anyone

Wisdom transcends hierarchy. Acknowledge that every connection holds the potential to impart value. Networking isn't about status; it's about the diversity of perspectives you gather.

A junior team member brings fresh, innovative ideas, while colleagues from different departments contribute unique skill sets. Embracing these diverse perspectives is fundamental to a well-rounded professional development.

Tip 5: Always follow-up

Networking’s true power lies in the follow-up. Recognise that busy schedules may delay responses, so thoughtful follow-ups demonstrate your commitment to the connection.


They also ensure you stay top-of-mind when opportunities arise. Whether it's touching base after networking events or checkin in to share updates, cultivating this ongoing relationship increases the likelihood that they will remember you when it matters most.

How can Hanover support you in transforming your career?

Choosing the right executive search partner can be hard. But Hanover is more than just a search firm. We are committed to coaching you in the right direction so that you reach the right people at the right time in your career. 


When relationships are the currency of success, you need a partner who understands the importance of strategic networking. Hanover is dedicated to helping you leverage your connections and strengths so that your career trajectory fulfils your aspirations.

Explore our candidate solutions to learn more about what we offer, or contact us directly for advice on how we can help you.

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