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17 January 2019
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Don't be shy

20 June 2013

Networking must be the marmite of the FM sector – whenever I talk to job candidates, they either love it or hate it.

But if networking is not your thing, you might be missing a trick. It’s particularly important in our sector because FMs can be quite isolated in their day-to-day work. When everyone in the sector is being asked to come up with innovations, or trying to get to grips with new legislation, networking events are a really good way to find out how your peers are dealing with these issues.

At the BIFM Question Time event in May, a panel of experts addressed topics from the London Living Wage to the benefits of different FM qualifications – you’d have to read a lot of literature or call a lot of contacts to get the same level of understanding. Networking is also a great way to meet your CPD requirements, by attending accredited events.

We find people who network are more successful in the jobs market too. They have stronger industry knowledge so they’re better prepared for interviews. It's not enough to do a Google search and read an organisation’s website – I advise candidates to speak to other people about working for an employer, about their strategy, things you can't always glean online.

Of course, networking events are what you make of them. You have to put yourself out there, speak to people you don’t know, find common ground. What you shouldn’t do is go in with a sales pitch. It’s about being involved in the industry, not bombarding people. Remember that the impression you make on people while networking will form your personal brand, so be confident without being brash and don’t be the wallflower in the corner.

So come on, don’t be shy - get out of your comfort zone. I promise you won’t regret it.

Ian Higgins, Director, Hays Facilities Management