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Networking for Clerks

Part One: Brief Encounters

Imagine the scene - Two workers on their commute home…………

Celia      So how was your day then?

Trevor   Oh the usual lonely affair but at least I managed to distribute the papers for next week’s Board meeting

Celia      Yes, I can imagine clerking can be isolating if you let it.  Why don’t you try and do something about it?

Trevor   What do you mean – I don’t see a need for changing. My job is all about being an efficient administrator – it is what it is

Celia      But have you not thought about how it could be made more fulfilling?  In my job, I make a point of sharing my experiences good and bad with fellow professionals both within and outside the office- and I get a lot more satisfaction from my work by sharing experiences. It gives me confidence and assurance that I am on the right lines.

Trevor   Yeah but there are two issues for me.  Firstly, I don’t have your confidence in talking and meeting others and secondly, I am not sure how I would go about it.  And another point is that my work includes confidentiality, so I can’t talk about detail.

Celia      I know you can’t name individuals or breach confidentiality, but you could network with other clerks and governance professionals in general terms without breaching confidentialities.

                And on the confidence point, I think you could overcome your natural reluctance Trevor and do what I do in consciously reaching out to fellow professionals. All it takes is a little courage and effort to reach-out to fellow professionals.  Aren’t there existing clerking groups in the region or fellow clerks in neighbouring schools who you could meet or discuss matters with?

Trevor   Well I think the Local Authority has a clerking network, but I’ve never bothered to research it.

Celia      That’s a start.  I really think networking is a valuable contribution to job satisfaction and self-improvement.  The more you do it the more confident you will become in doing it AND I think your governors will have a greater confidence in your work and respect more your efficiency and professionalism.

Trevor   When you put it like that I will have to explore doing networking

Celia      I am sure that like me, you’ll find networking a valuable addition to the job.  Anyway, this is my stop.  See you tomorrow and I look forward to hearing about progress.  See you.

 

So, are you a Celia or a Trevor or somewhere in between?  Why not self-evaluate your networking abilities and make a conscious effort to become like Celia (if you are not already like her).  But what exactly is networking?

 

Part Two: Networking Defined

There are a lot of dictionary definitions, but this is one of my preferred ones: -

“Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question "How can I help?" and not with "What can I get?" Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/networking.html

 

Part Three: Five benefits of networking

The benefits of networking are critical to your personal growth as a clerk and to the development of your clerking role.

Here are 5 benefits of networking in a clerking context.  The list is not exhaustive and I’m sure you will identify other benefits with few if any drawbacks.

 

1. Shared Knowledge

Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge, including best practice. Whether it’s asking for feedback or discussing your point of view, it will help you expand your knowledge and allow you to see things from other perspectives.

It is also likely that within your network there will be those who have already experienced or overcome an issue you are facing and you can learn from their experiences and avoid some of the common pitfalls they might have encountered.

 

2. Opportunities

It’s natural that networking will result in opportunities. The thing you will not know is when or how they will materialise. Whether it’s a referral, offer of other clerking opportunities or a request for your service, it is important to be ready to seize opportunities when they come along.

 

3. Connections

Remember you are not just gaining exposure to the people in the room, you are building connections with their network too. If someone they know has a need that matches your skills, if you have made an impression, you will likely get a referral.

And remember it’s not just a one-way street. If someone in your network matches a need you encounter at an event, don’t hesitate to share their details. It will only strengthen your relationship.

 

4. Increased confidence

By regularly networking and pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know, it will help increase your confidence and your credibility as a trusted adviser in the eyes of your governors and others.

 

5. Raising your profile

Being visible and getting noticed is a big benefit of networking. By regularly attending business and social events, people will begin to recognise you. This can you help to build your reputation as a knowledgeable, reliable and supportive person by offering useful information or tips to people who need it.

 

Give it a go after all what is there to lose?  With a little effort on your part there is a lot to gain!

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