Networking is a skill that is often overlooked but it can prove to be incredibly useful if mastered and done well. With a competitive jobs market, you will be surprised by how much knowing somebody within a company or that has been there previously, can help in your search for employment.
Graduates who can network well open up doors to learn about potential opportunities and collaborations, enabling them build relationships, answer questions and get answers to any queries or worries they have.
If you can network with those in your chosen industry, you can help bridge the gap between education and employment which is extremely advantageous to you and your pursuit of a job.
Before you jump in with both feet make sure you know what you are going to say and how it will come across. If you’re on work experience, ask them what they did before they worked there, or if you know of a big project they worked discuss it with them and build your relationship slowly.
Not everything has to be done there and then – take a note of their email address and send them an email after you finish, thanking them for their help during your time there. Ask if they can help you, but do not go asking everyone in the room at the same time.
It can often be quite daunting talking to managers or staff when you’re not sure of your position and are not entirely comfortable; this is where practice comes in. Start by talking to anyone about anything and practice moving the conversation towards areas you would like it to go, such as graduate schemes or junior positions.
It’s not all about you
Networking is not just about finding the perfect position for yourself, it has to be a two way street otherwise you won’t come across well at all and will end up getting nowhere. If it so happens that they can help you then great, but it should not be your main objective otherwise they will see right through it and end up keeping you at arms distance.
Thanks to the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter, a large part of networking has moved online, allowing you to connect far and wide. Before you start, make sure your profiles represent you well, and don’t spread your net too far. Network with people you have something in common with, such as university, college or hobbies.
If you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, have a chat with Discovery Graduates and see how they can get you started