The recognised standard
in credit management
Established in 1939, the Institute of Credit Management is Europe's largest association for the credit management profession

Guest blog by Paul Brooker, Group Credit Risk Manager – ‘The power of networking’

10 April 2014

Networking is making connections and building mutually beneficial relationships. If you go out of your way to help contacts in your network they’ll be more motivated to assist you when you need a favour or advice.

Your network can be a huge resource available to you at low cost but it is about reciprocity so you need to contribute.

For those younger credit professionals networking can aid your career development and success. It is often quoted that networking is involved in 60% – 80% of all job offers.

Many professional organisations like the Institute of Credit Management have student memberships and run both local events social and educational through the branches. Why not pop along and introduce yourself. It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to meet people in the same job arena. Many of the branches have a LinkedIn presence that provides up to date information on branch activity. The ICM have their own general discussion forum on their website. If you have a question just ask. There will be someone out who will be more than pleased to provide an answer for you.

Membership of a Credit Circle is also a great way to network. With regular attendance mutual trust is built up in a non-competitive way. Many credit circles have an element of CPD beyond the exchange of information on customers. A credit circle I know has it written into the rules that a part of the meeting is to advance learning in the industry, credit management and regulatory matters. It is vital for success that as well as receiving and requesting everyone contributes by giving and offering their expertise and information.

In more recent years having achieved accreditation in QiCM it has opened up a new area of networking for me. QiCM companies are encouraged to help each other. I know that many of the companies have visited each other to view systems, understand processes and to discuss common problems and seek solutions. If a company has a specific question it is circulated to the membership and those companies that can help are put in touch with the company making the enquiry. This is such a valuable resource given freely and without obligation.

So the message is make the effort and go to branch events, consider QiCM and see if there is a credit circle in your industry that you can join.

Remember networking is about giving and sharing and not just taking. It is a two way process. Be helpful to others even if there is no immediate or direct benefit to you.

On a local level as Chair of Bristol & West branch if you are a credit professional who works or lives in Gloucestershire, Somerset, Bristol and Bath areas join the ICM Bristol & West LinkedIn group. You will be most welcome.

Paul Brooker

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc

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