It’s not what you know, it’s… well, you know the rest. We’ve all heard it a million times. It’s who you know that opens doors. And it’s who you know that advances your career.
I can certainly attest to this.
I started with Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) 13 years ago as a Travel Consultant with the Student Flights brand (before being rebranded as Universal Traveller) while studying a business degree at university. After progressing through the ranks in my store to become Team Leader, I was then able to take advantage of a new position that opened in Flight Centre Travel Group head office as a Product Marketing Specialist. I soon continued my progression to become a Marketing Manager before becoming the Head of Marketing at Travel Money Group and today, I am Head of Marketing for Flight Centre Brand.
I’m here because I’ve backed myself time and time again even if I didn’t have all the ‘skills’ that the job descriptions have asked for. But this self-belief hasn’t come naturally. I’ve leaned on my leaders, peers and mentors to give me advice and build the confidence that I needed to continue to grow and develop my career. They’ve instilled an attitude in me to always go for opportunities. You might be told NO but you’ll learn from that experience. That’s much more valuable than not doing anything and wondering what could’ve been or finding out who ultimately landed the role and realising you would have been in with a chance.
Career Development Networking
Networking and having a strong resume are both critical. But in the end, it’s having good relationships internally and externally that are most helpful — not only for getting a position but to be able to share ideas and understand and question other people's perspectives.
I believe internal and external networking are both valuable. Internal networking helps you navigate the business with inner knowledge and opens up opportunities you might not have seen before — and in a company as big as FCTG, there are literally thousands of people already working here who you can connect with. External networking, on the other hand, gives you fresh ideas and new perspectives on challenges.
How to Improve Your Networking Skills
There’s an art to great networking. Firstly, don’t resort to an email or a phone call if you can help it. A face-to-face conversation, whether it’s over coffee, in the hallway or the elevator — or even a formal meeting is much more effective.
Here are some of my top tips for better networking, especially if you’re not a confident communicator:
Always come prepared. Before any encounter, research the person you want to connect with and have an idea of what you want to ask them beforehand.
Be yourself. Doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, blue-sky thinker or detail-orientated — we all have stories about successes and failures to share. Share yours and ask them what theirs are.
What are the networking opportunities like at Flight Centre?
Formal or informal mentor opportunities are always available. If you reach out to a peer or leader who you want as your mentor, in most cases, they would love to do it but YOU need to drive it. There are also less formal opportunities to network within the business like at our Buzz Nights (monthly business social events), Friday night drinks as well as discipline and retail conferences.
But remember, any time where different people come together is a networking opportunity, including your classic water cooler chat. As long as you know what you want your personal brand to be and who you want to talk to, opportunities are endless.