Networking tips and ideas

Networking is important for building contacts for your career, discovering more about the sector you want to work in and discovering opportunities in the hidden jobs marketing.

What is networking?

Networking is about establishing and maintaining connections with a wide range of people who may be able to assist you in building your career.

This can either be face to face, by social media or by both. You probably are already networking even if you don’t realise it. It can be as simple as chatting with someone at a party or asking a relative.

Why should I network?

  • Get a good variety of advice and support from different sources.
  • Discover what a company or industry is like to work for or how to approach an application form and interview.
  • Find out about new opportunities and business areas.
  • You can tap into the hidden job market through writing speculative applications, as 70% of jobs are not advertised.
  • It demonstrates you are a proactive person with good interpersonal skills.
  • Develop the communication skills needed for the world of work.

How and where can I network?

  • Identify contacts you already have in areas of industry that you are interested in. Ask them politely if they can help you, they will probably be flattered and at worst all they can say is no.
  • Careers Network has a number of employer events including careers fairs and presentations open to graduates that enable you to meet recruiters. 
  • Attend conferences, courses and other events in your area of interest
  • Research the people that you might want to talk to at a specific event as this will make it easier to think of questions.
  • Join a professional association to speak to professionals in your field of interest. The Directory of the Professions website provides a comprehensive UK list of professional bodies and organisations. The site also offers news and articles on many of these organisations as well as YouTube videos.
  • Use the LinkedIn alumni group and other connections.
  • Apply for the Careers Network Mentoring scheme, open in October and January.

Top Tips for networking

  • Don’t come across as too pushy when approaching a contact. Ask for help and advice rather than asking for a job straight away.
  • Good networking is like a good friendship, try to bring something to the network as well as getting something from it.
  • Prepare an Elevator Pitch, a 30-second synopsis of your experience, skills and career aspirations. Make sure the skills that you describe are relevant to the industry. Tailor your pitch to the audience and sector.