Learn how to get to know your future colleagues with the power of networking.
As the old saying goes, it's not just what you know; it's who you know. While networking might seem intimidating, we've put together a handy guide with everything you need to know to get started.
Networking is just a fancy word for socialising, so actually, every time you meet someone new, you're expanding your network without even realising it.
One of the easiest ways to network is by building an online presence on social media. Social media is a great way to keep in the loop about upcoming jobs and placement opportunities companies offer. Take advantage of your smartphone and follow the companies you want to work for. Plus, keeping an eye out on different company activities will help raise your commercial awareness.
It's important to remember that not all job opportunities are advertised on job boards and LinkedIn. Smaller companies tend to advertise through their social media accounts.
Being active on LinkedIn is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out and network with other people. You can add your employment history, shout out about any cool projects you've been doing, and ask people if they know about any upcoming jobs or internships.
It's worth checking to see if your university has signed up for LinkedIn Learning, which will give you free access to hundreds of skills courses, including Microsoft Office, project management and data handling.
Maintain your network by reacting to people's posts and messaging them to see how they are. Remember you've got the world at your fingertips, so take advantage of that by sending a personalised message when you request to connect with people. Take a look at their profile and say that something caught your eye, and you'd like to chat sometime and learn more about their career path.
One of the best ways to network effectively on LinkedIn is to find people who work in the sector or role that you'd like to work in and look at their career path to see how they got their current role.
Don't forget that as a university student, you have professional careers advisers available to answer any questions you might have about networking. Your careers centre will have the resources available to help connect you with employers.
Be sure to look out for careers workshops, and Q&A panels online and on campus, which are excellent opportunities to introduce yourself to employers and ask questions about their company.
Be sure to attend networking events if you have the chance. Careers fairs and insight days are a great way to chat with employers and learn more about working in your chosen sector. It may seem intimidating, but try to introduce yourself to employers and show enthusiasm and curiosity by asking questions. If you show a genuine interest by being inquisitive, they're more likely to remember you, which may be handy if you apply for a job with them in the future.
Why not follow up on your chat with an employer by asking to connect with them on LinkedIn? Personalise your invitation to connect by saying that it was great to meet them and you would like to stay in touch.
Get involved on campus!
Remember that you have a ready-made network available at your fingertips. Get to know your student community by attending events and joining societies because your friends might be able to connect you with organisations you can have some experience with.
Speak to your lecturers
Remember that your lecturers and the other staff in your department will have a lot of expertise and connections, so don't be afraid to ask them for advice on connecting with employers. Plus, if your lecturers are aware you're looking for opportunities to connect with people/ gain work experience, they're more likely to let you know if you hear about any upcoming opportunities.
We hope you've found our one-stop guide to networking useful and remember, it's not just what you know, it's who you know.
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