“Your network is your net worth." - Porter Gale
Networking in finance isn't just about exchanging business cards and talking about the latest stock market trends. It’s about forging genuine connections and positioning yourself in a web of professionals who share insights, opportunities, and wisdom.
It's a strategic move that can:
- Unlock new job opportunities
- Offer smart career advice
- Highlight industry trends
- Share expert tips
- Be a source of steady support
To put yourself at the forefront of new opportunities, simply having a polished resume or a keen understanding of the market isn’t enough.
Networking in finance, with its power to bridge you to industry leaders, innovators, and decision-makers, can be the key differentiator you need to stand out.
Remember – The edge doesn't come from what you know, but rather from who you know.
With that being said, let’s dive into some of the best networking tips to help you build your circle in finance.👇🏼
Table of contents
1. Build your network organically
The most effective networking happens naturally through authentic conversations and shared interests. So, try your best to avoid transactional networking where you're solely focused on what the other person can do for you.
Build genuine relationships by being curious about the other person, asking thoughtful questions, and listening intently.
2. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a goldmine for expanding your professional network. Beyond your first-degree connections, look to second and third-degree connections for new opportunities.
For example, you likely know people who are connected to decision-makers at your dream company. Reach out and ask your contact for an introduction.
You can also connect with new contacts by engaging in LinkedIn Groups (such as our free FP&A group with 100K members) related to your field. Share advice and build rapport through contributing regularly.
3. Attend finance networking events
Look for annual conferences for finance professionals, as well as seminars, happy hours, or other events to mingle with professionals in your field. Come prepared with business cards and a short elevator pitch that summarizes who you are and what you're looking for.
When attending networking events, make an effort to introduce yourself to attendees and ask what brings them to the event. Collect their business card so you can connect afterwards.
Following up is key - review your notes, connect on LinkedIn, and send a friendly email to keep the relationship going.
We host both in-person finance conferences and events (and virtual events) featuring world-class speakers talking about the most pressing topics in finance. You’ll also have the chance to network with like-minded finance professionals, and it’s a great way to build your circle while learning simultaneously.
Find out more about our upcoming finance conferences and events here.
4. Volunteer your time
Volunteering allows you to meet like-minded professionals willing to use their skills for a good cause. Look for volunteer activities that align with your expertise - helping with taxes, financial literacy, or fundraising events. Excellent networking finance opportunities often emerge from these experiences.
Non-profit board service also provides exposure to community leaders running organizations. Use volunteering to increase your visibility and demonstrate your abilities beyond just a resume.
5. Join an online community
Finance Alliance offers a free Slack community where finance professionals can network and collaborate online. Introduce yourself in the #introductions channel and enjoy thought-provoking conversations within our engaged networking group.
Chat with global peers, share knowledge, and make connections without leaving your desk. Virtual networking expands your reach 24/7.
Active members tend to gain the most visibility and referrals - so don't be shy!
6. Seek out mentors and be one
Having a mentor in the finance industry can provide invaluable insights, guidance, and introductions. Look for experienced professionals who've been where you want to go and are willing to share their journey.
Conversely, offer to mentor those newer to the field. The reciprocal relationship can result in fresh perspectives, and as they say, teaching is the best way to learn.
7. Cold outreach
Cold emailing or calling finance professionals can feel intimidating. But it's an effective way to introduce yourself and request informational interviews.
Do your research beforehand on the person and their company. Personalize the message highlighting why you'd value meeting them. If there's no response, follow up once more. Persistence pays off.
Even a 15–30-minute coffee chat gives you a chance to make a positive impression. The more cold outreach you do, the more opportunities will arise.
8. Attend alumni and graduate events
Most colleges and business schools host regional alumni events and networking nights. Attend these activities to connect with graduates working in your field.
Chat with alumni about their career journey and ask their advice. Share your experience since graduating and where you'd like to take your career next. And don't forget to swap business cards and connect on LinkedIn afterward.
9. Share your expertise with others
There are many ways to establish your authority by sharing your expertise. Consider speaking at industry conferences or universities. Or, if you're not camera (or mic) shy, think about starting a podcast or YouTube channel diving into financial topics.
Optimizing your knowledge gives you credibility and exposure to new contacts.
Earning a speaking slot at a Finance Alliance conference or leading a virtual workshop is an effective way to increase your professional exposure. Submit your proposal here.
You could also share your expertise by contributing an article to Finance Alliance to help showcase your thought leadership. Our online library of member-written pieces covers trending topics and best practices in FP&A, finance transformation, business partnership, CFO leadership, and more.
Sharing your expertise through Finance Alliance is a win-win networking opportunity. You establish your credibility while making new connections.
10. Get involved in your community
Volunteering locally helps you meet professionals and influencers outside the corporate walls. Local non-profit boards also offer great networking exposure while benefiting a good cause.
Help out with community events or join the planning committee for finance-related activities. Being proactively involved raises your visibility as a leader in the field.
11. Leverage personal relationships
Don't underestimate networking with your own family and friends. You never know who someone might know until you have a conversation.
Ask your contacts if they can make professional introductions on your behalf. Referrals often carry more weight than a cold approach.
Quick fire tips: How to network in finance
📋 Come prepared
Bring plenty of business cards and refine your elevator pitch - a quick summary of your background and goals. Rehearse your pitch so you can confidently share it during introductions.
💎 Focus on giving value
Look for ways to help others without expecting anything in immediate return. Make introductions between your contacts that make sense. Share an interesting article or job opening suited to someone's interests.
Establish your reputation as a connector who wants to see everyone succeed. Your generosity will be remembered.
⏰ Follow up promptly
After meeting someone new, send them a LinkedIn connect request and a brief email that same day. Quick follow-up shows you were engaged and interested in connecting further.
🎯 Set networking goals
Approach networking with purpose. Set goals like "connect with five new professionals in my field" or "attend three industry events this quarter."
Track your progress to stay motivated and on track. Consistency is key to building an impactful network over time.
👂 Listen more than you speak
Resist the urge to self-promote. Instead, spend most of your time listening and learning from others. Ask engaging questions about their career journey and interests.
People appreciate being heard. You'll gain key insights by focusing on their perspectives and advice.
🌟 Stay authentic
Don't try to be someone you're not. Networking is about developing genuine connections, not impressing others. Share your real passions, interests, and story.
Relax, be yourself, and seek out like-minded professionals. Your authenticity will shine through.
Networking in finance can feel daunting, but it doesn't have to be. By putting in consistent effort over time, you can gradually build a powerful circle of mutually beneficial relationships.
Start with the connections already in your orbit and work outward. Attend events, ask for informational interviews, contribute your expertise, and stay engaged with your growing network.
Focus on giving first and developing genuine rapport.
So get out there - online and in person - and start meeting the mentors, peers, and decision-makers who will shape your future. Through the simple act of networking finance, anything is possible.
FAQs: Networking finance
What does networking mean in finance?
Networking in finance entails building connections with industry professionals to share insights, seek advice, and explore mutual opportunities for career or business advancement.
What is the power of networking in finance?
Networking in finance opens doors to hidden job opportunities, offers early insights into market trends, fosters business collaborations, and provides a platform for shared knowledge and experiences.
How important is networking in finance?
Networking is crucial in finance as it not only offers access to job openings but also keeps professionals updated on industry trends, enables partnerships, and solidifies one's position in the financial community.
I’m new to the finance sector. How do I start networking?
Begin with attending conferences for finance professionals, joining online platforms like LinkedIn, participating in local finance seminars, and connecting with alumni from your educational institution.
How can I use LinkedIn effectively for networking finance?
Start by optimizing your profile with a professional photo and comprehensive details about your experience. Engage in relevant groups, post regularly about finance topics, and proactively connect with industry professionals, both within and outside your direct network.
How often should I attend finance networking events?
While there's no set number, it's beneficial to attend several events throughout the year. This keeps you updated, ensures regular touchpoints with contacts, and allows you to meet new professionals in the industry.
Can I network even if I'm not actively seeking a new job?
Definitely! Networking isn't just about job-seeking. It's about building and maintaining relationships, learning, and growing professionally.
How do I handle rejection or lack of interest from potential contacts?
Stay gracious and professional. Not every interaction will lead to a meaningful connection, and that's okay. Focus on building quality relationships rather than quantity.