Networking with professionals in your industry can help you build mutually supportive relationships with like-minded professionals and could be the key to a stand-out reference or word of mouth support to your next career goal. Take a few minutes during your lunch break today to initiate a conversation with a colleague from another department or partnering organisation or a student from another class or campus if studying. Avoid going in with ‘shop chat’ and try to entice your colleague into a mutually beneficial conversation. Gracefully navigate your way through the conversation and try to find common interests that will make them remember you as a person and not just a colleague or fellow student. Then wrap the conversation up by inviting them to connect on LinkedIn or another professional social platform. It’s as easy as that! Sometimes it may seem exhausting putting yourself out there, but the benefits to your career and even social prospects may hold the key to your dream role. Dedicate one lunch break each month to connect with a professional just a stone’s throw away. The connection may give you an insight into their organisations developments, future projects or job opportunities. What you want to avoid is coming across as a ‘networking vulture’: picking their brain for career scraps and offering nothing beneficial in return. So tell them a funny story, find common ground and make them enjoy the interaction. Remember: being able to give and take to achieve positive outcomes is a skill that employers value highly, so get networking and don’t be greedy. Share your knowledge, ideas and expertise and you’ll soon reap the rewards of building your professional profile and multiplying your connections.