The key to networking is to understand one simple idea - it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. In a graduate market where a high majority of students finish university with a 2:1, it is imperative to build a number of contacts to help you land a job in the ‘real world’. If you are in need of some advice to guide you in your networking strategy, keep reading for our tips on how to network your way to a grad job…
An alumni service is a fantastic networking tool to aid you in finding a job. The service can be used to find previous graduates from your university who are now working in companies you’re interested in. It is surprising just how many people are willing to help you find your dream role, especially as you have a common connection. Try reaching out to a couple on LinkedIn and inviting them for a coffee or a phone call to discuss the industry. After all, what is there to lose?
Although this seems obvious, it is surprising how few people take the time to attend networking events. There are a number of options available to students and graduates including career fairs, recruitment events, product shows and seminars. This is a great opportunity for you to meet directly with the HR department of a company and make an excellent first impression. Meeting with the recruiters at a fair will give you a great talking point when you apply to the company, and you may even be able to get ahold of their personal email to apply to.
An absolute must for networking is to have your own business cards. This demonstrates to employers that you are organised and forward-thinking and gives you a great opportunity to make a good first impression. Printing your own business cards is pretty fast and cheap, and they are far more convenient to carry around in comparison to your CV. When you attend a career fair or recruitment event make sure to take your business cards along, since you never know who you will meet!
The most important part of networking is to be prepared. When attending a careers fair, make sure you have looked up the companies and employees who will be there in advance. This gives you a chance to swot up on related topics before you arrive so you won’t be talking to a recruiter about a position you have no knowledge of. Preparing in advance also saves you a vast amount of time, since you won’t need to visit the stands of companies that don’t have vacancies in your field.
Once you have been introduced to a potential connection or met a recruiter at an event, make sure you follow up the conversation on LinkedIn or via email. You can mention giving them your business card at the university seminar, or how nice it was to meet them at the recruiting show yesterday. By following up and staying connected with your network, you are keeping opportunities open in the future to contact them about job offers or joining their company. After all, your reason for attending was to find a graduate job, and this new ally might be your ticket to the perfect grad scheme...
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