As one of the most vibrant, friendliest and up-and-coming cities in the north, Sheffield is fast becoming a desirable destination for young professionals to start their careers.
Sheffield has an increasing number of networking events, allowing rising stars to meet like-minded people and providing a great place for them to raise their profile.
Caroline Deathe, contentious probate associate at Shakespeare Martineau, is president of the Sheffield & District Junior Lawyers Division, which hosts social, educational and charity events throughout the year for young legal professionals.
She said: “People like doing business with people they trust and networking early in your career serves as an avenue to creating these long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships, while also building your people skills and self-confidence.
“Sheffield has a breadth of networking opportunities in law and other business areas where junior professionals are able to make great connections. It also has a good, friendly social scene, which makes all the difference.
“When I moved to Yorkshire as a newly-qualified solicitor, I made it a priority to get out and meet other like-minded professionals. I have met some great people, some of whom have also become very good friends. Having peers in other firms has also really helped me throughout my career.”
Hannah Ellis, marketing manager at Treat Time, recently founded Sheffield Young Professionals – a community for those in their 20s and 30s who are looking to meet new people, share skills and explore new places in the city.
She said: “We wanted to create a space for people to learn and develop within their roles and industries, while also promoting Sheffield as a great place to live and work in order to keep talented young people in the city.
“It aims to provide networking experience in an informal environment, which works extremely well in Sheffield because the scene here is dynamic, friendly and provides a community element that allows you to build strong connections.
“I work for a start-up, so networking is key in getting people to recognise the brand and trust our services. I’ve been referred by so many people and gained clients that I wouldn’t have reached through other marketing techniques.
“Any connections you make at networking events are valuable even if you don’t make a direct sale or find a new client instantly. Getting yourself and your brand known is key. If you do this through making a friend who has no use for your goods or services but will then go on to tell others about you, that’s as valuable as talking directly to a potential client.”
If you go alone, don’t be afraid to ask the organiser if they can point in you in the direction of someone in your field
Be prepared to talk to people – introducing yourself and asking what someone else does is a great way to get the ball rolling
Listen and ask questions – don’t recite a sales pitch. The best connections are often built off informal chats
Make sure to end conversations with an action, such as connecting on LinkedIn
Follow up with your new connection the next day – even if it’s just with niceties. If you think you’ve found a potential client, arrange to meet for a coffee.