How to Build Networking Skills in 2024

Posting date: 18 April 2024

While the internet has globalised the recruitment landscape in the past decade, streamlining the application process, hiring experts today confirm the existence of a “hidden job market,” which results in thousands of opportunities that never reach the public sphere.

In other words, the size of your network can be just as valuable as the content of your CV. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner refers to this as the “network gap.” Luckily, investing in your communication and networking skills is one way to access the hidden job market. 

How can I increase my networking skills in 2024?

Here are four ways to help you develop your interpersonal communication, tap into the hidden job market, and give your career a competitive edge.

1. Cultivate your ‘weak links’

Contrary to popular belief, connecting directly to hiring managers might not be as effective at improving your networking skills as you think. Survey data from Harvard Business Review shows that second and third-degree connections, or “weak links,” are much more likely to result in a job reference than first or “strong” links.

However, there is no one right way to grow your weak links, so you will have to try them out and see what works for you and your industry:

  • Send DMs or personal messages to peers you admire or look up to.

  • Reconnect with old coworkers and friends, just for the sake of it.

  • Casually mention your profession/skills when out in social settings—you never know when you might bump into the right person at the right place and time.

2. Join emerging online & in-person networking communities

The Internet Age and the rise of AI and global talent markets undoubtedly shape how organisations hire and outsource work. According to a 2023 study, evolving professional networks will become vital for maintaining a competitive edge and connecting with specialised talent. 

How to build networking skills with online networking communities

We recommend joining new and emerging online networking platforms, such as industry-specific Discord channels, WhatsApp groups, and Patreon communities. These platforms are a great way to develop those “weak links” and may even provide access to decision-makers down the road. Exploring leading recruitment networks is another great way to expand your access to hiring managers.

How to build networking skills with in-person networking communities

If you are a remote or hybrid professional, a great way to develop in-person communication and networking skills is to join a coworking space. Coworking Switzerland is a great place to start.

3. Volunteer at industry events

To increase your chances of connecting with decision-makers, don't just attend events—offer to assist in organising or running them. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your dedication and skills to your peers and superiors and, most crucially, opens dialogues that could lead to great opportunities.

Find Industry Events in Switzerland

4. Organize an industry-focused book club or activity night

Another way to improve your networking skills is through a work-related book club, bowling night, skiing club, or other interest-based group with peers in your industry. For example, Amazon creates interest-based Slack channels to encourage global remote employees to socialise and network, connecting tennis lovers in the same city and industry. Consider starting a Slack channel and sharing it on social media to see if anyone is interested. 

Tip: Meetup is a free and widely accessible platform for starting your in-person activity.

How to improve your networking skills

Build long-lasting, valuable relationships

This involves talking, listening, and sharing knowledge not just with those in your professional field but in general—you never know who your neighbour, barista, or dog walker may know. As a bonus, you’ll also develop communication and networking soft skills to showcase on your job application.

Be strategic

While casting a wide net is essential, remember that learning how to build your networking skills also requires strategic thinking and planning; this means identifying valuable individuals, setting meaningful goals, and thoughtfully choosing whom to develop deeper professional relationships with.

How to build your network with Swisslinx

A leader in the Swiss recruitment industry, Swisslinx connects skilled professionals and reputable companies in Switzerland, helping you enrich your networking toolkit.

Explore new employment opportunities and connect with top-tier professionals in the digital and technology, finance, healthcare, and life sciences industries today to accelerate your next job search.