The Power of Networking
My name is Akua A Boateng and I’m currently working as an Account Executive for Wimbart. I didn’t apply for this job, I’ve never worked for a PR agency before but I got here just by making the most of networking opportunities. I’ve witnessed people attend networking events because they lost a bet in the office – wrong attitude. Networking is an exciting opportunity!
In August, I attended SheHive London; a networking and learning event for women with an interest in Africa, organised by She Leads Africa. My goals were really to generate ideas for my book club and just get a sense of opportunities available for young professional women on the continent. Jessica Hope, Managing Director of Wimbart was a speaker at the event and she shared some wisdom on effective PR strategy.
The day we met, there were about 100 other young ambitious women in the room, but our conversation resulted in my latest job. Networking is definitely a skill that breeds results. Here are a few tips as to how to make networking less of a chore and more of an opportunity:
Take care of your online presence – The romance actually started on Twitter. I followed everyone who was speaking over the 4-day event on Twitter, just to get to know them and have a better understanding of what they do. Jessica and I were both tweeting about the upcoming SLA event, realised we had mutual followers as and worked in the same industry. If Jessica had clicked on my Twitter profile and seen inappropriate pictures or verbal abuse, I doubt she would have followed me back.
Do your research and find common ground – When I met Jessica, I didn’t really have much of a reason to talk to her. No sexy Ghanaian tech start-up to pitch, no interesting press contacts. However, I‘d checked out her LinkedIn and identified that she had invaluable experience in the communications industry. So we spoke about our shared experiences working in PR and marketing agencies and I asked for some advice. We exchanged contact details and though I wasn’t offered a job on the spot, I had made a very useful contact.
Be authentically you – I went to #SheHiveLondon because I’m passionate about my continent, seeing it grow and succeed and sharing that with as many people as possible. This was evident to everyone I spoke with at SheHiveLondon and one of my most attractive qualities when joining Wimbart.
And so now, today, I’m here – first day on the job with Jessica and Maria, via She Leads Africa – starting a new role. This, my friends, is the power of networking. You never know who you’re going to meet and what you can do for each other, so network hard and see where it takes you.