The Importance of Networking
During your time at university, you had several opportunities to network with your fellow students and lecturers, and during events on campus, etc. As a graduate, regardless of your working status, you should have even more opportunities to meet with people in the industry you work in, or would like to work in.
Networking is a very powerful way to raise your professional profile, gain visibility in the industry, show your success to others, exchange best practices, find leads for your business and contacts for your next career’s move, etc. This is not all; networking serves the purpose of belonging to a business community. This is the hidden value you will get by registering onto a network, attending their relevant events and engaging with other members.
When we think about networking, we often refer to in-person events where you have to register to attend. Generally, these are either breakfast or evening meetings. However, there is the opportunity to network online via LinkedIn, which is a very different game.
Here are some tips:
- First impressions – creating a positive impact is vital when meeting new people. Smile and control your body language to look relaxed and open to socialising.
- Break the ice– find something you have in common. Try and avoid the question “what do you do?” and start with making small talk about non-working related topics. The classic comment about the weather would be enough to start a conversation.
- Practise your “elevator pitch”: when you get to talk to somebody about work, try and impress them! Imagine getting into a lift and bumping into an influential person who could transform your career. How can you impress them in the 60 seconds it takes for the lift to reach the ground floor and make sure they want to hear more? Be prepared to tell them briefly about who you are, what you’re currently doing (academic/work/volunteering) and what your career direction is.
- Ask for advice, not a job– once you’ve identified someone working in your chosen area, ask if they could spare you some time to help you find out about the sector/role/organisation they work in. People are often flattered to be asked for advice – they may also recommend others who could help.
- Listen, learn, share– this is not all about you; this is about who you know and what they are doing which could be relevant to you. So, listen to what they have to say, ask the right questions and learn from them, and then share your experiences with them.
Did you know we offer a life-time service to our Alumni?
To find out more, contact the Careers Team via email@example.com or access ChiCareers to book an online appointment with one of our qualified Careers Consultants to discuss any career topic, including networking.