By Roxanne Dowell
The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is just as true today as it was when it was first coined. That’s why networking is as important as freshening up your CV when you’re searching for a job. But how does one get started, especially if he or she is new to the city or is hoping to change directions? The answer is easier than you thought. Here are a few ways to meet potential employers who may just have a job opening that is perfect for you.
First Things First
The key to successful networking is being prepared. Make sure you take these steps first before beginning on your job hunt:
The Hong Kong handshake: If you’re just starting out, get some name cards printed with your mobile number, email address and other pertinent information on them. If you have business cards already, make sure you keep a stack with you at all times. Handing out these cards is Hong Kong’s way of making an introduction and it’s taken quite seriously. Remember to hold the bottom corners with both hands when presenting them. (Check out this article on proper business etiquette in Hong Kong.) Keep a copy of your CV with you as well.
Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and what career direction you want to take. This isn’t the time to be vague; decide on the job you want and set out to make that desire a reality.
Do your research; will there be an executive at an event who you’re dying to meet? Read up on him or her and go prepared with a list of questions or comments.
If you think you’re the perfect candidate for a company, sell yourself. But be cordial, not pushy. Talk to them about something of interest to break the ice first.
These unique office set-ups are not just for the gainfully employed. Co-working spaces are excellent places for meeting people. If money allows, you can rent a desk (they often have short-term rentals) and meet others who are doing the same. You never know who might be renting out a space in the various offices, so it doesn’t hurt to call ahead and speak to the co-working team to find out what other organizations are already in the same location.
Additionally, co-working spaces often team up with a variety of companies to host events, and these events are the ideal situation to network. Most events not only have information about what will be discussed, but also who will attend. Find out who can help you get ahead in your career and go prepared.
Women’s organizations can help tremendously when searching for a job, and many host special empowering talks and networking events. Search LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media channels, or go to the organizations’ websites directly to find where these events are being held. Become a member to get more event benefits, such as exclusive referrals, business dinners, marketing functions and more.
The Women's Foundation (TWF)
Women Entrepreneurs Network (WENHK)
NGOs & Charities
If you’ve got some time on your hands while looking for a job, volunteer at a non-governmental organization or local charity. These important groups are making a positive impact on social and environmental welfare, and many have excellent connections with businesses around the city. Many also need part-time or full-time employees to help out with their mission.
Chambers Of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce often hold events with influencers that are excellent opportunities for networking. For instance, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) holds the Women of Influence annual event, where you can meet and listen to successful women in business. Many also host new member breakfasts where you can meet like-minded individuals, and hold workshops to help you hone your skills.
American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham)
Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham)
British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham)
These are just a few different ways to access different networks in Hong Kong, but don't forget to start with your own. Often times a quick coffee meeting with an old colleague or friend can be the first step on the path to finding your next job.