Networking: the graduate job hunt is on

POSTED: 11/07/2011

Let’s be honest, not many of us have really thought about networking when it comes to looking for a graduate job and as such it is probably one of the most under used methods during the job search, but why?

Networking: the graduate job hunt is on

 Let’s be honest, not many of us have really thought about networking when it comes to looking for a graduate job and as such it is probably one of the most under used methods during the job search, but why?

Networking is a critical part of any job hunt, it’s your opportunity to present the real you, rather than a piece of paper and a covering letter. It’s your opportunity to really sell yourself (in the right manner!) as described by Kelly Eggers in her article ‘The Top Eight Rules of Networking’. (http://www.fins.com/Finance/Articles/SBB0001424052970204644504576651181338419022/The-Top-Eight-Rules-of-Networking)

Students and graduates are renowned for being technology extrodinares, social networking addicts and being constantly surrounded by industry experts and peers with the same objectives. All the tools you need to network are, in fact, right under your nose.

Don’t overlook the relationships you have with your tutors, or forget that they are also industry professionals who are likely to have a broad range of contacts within your desired profession. Often, your tutors will be asked to put forward the names of the students who they hold in highest regards to their associates within the industry, or even find out first hand about new opportunities before they come onto the market.

Many University courses have guest lecturers; theses tend to be industry experts, or at the very least, well connected people. Have a chat with them, more often than not they will be fountains of knowledge and more than willing to talk to you, they will understand who of their associates will be looking for graduates and can often point you in the right direction as to who and where to apply to. 
Also, if you have an opportunity to get a business card do so, you never know when it may come in handy in the future.

Local business events are another great networking tool. Often you will find that chambers of commerce or business clubs have events which are free to attend and hold many of the areas key business people. A great starting point for this is: www.findnetworkingevents.com this site allows you to search for networking events regionally. Always do your preparation for these events, dress smartly and take copies of your CV, you never know who you could meet.

First impressions when networking...

The way in which you present yourself is really important when you network, and regardless of how hard you have been working all week or if you have been getting consecutive first class grades; remember that people buy into people and not paper when they first meet them. Let’s be realistic, if you keep turning up late to lectures, your half asleep during class or quite frankly seem to be more interested in what your mates were getting up to last night than appearing to concentrate – it’s unlikely that your tutors are going to introduce you to their external colleagues any time soon. Nor is it likely that the guest lecture – your ticket to that internship – is going to remember you for anything other than how you come across in the lecture. Lectures are interactive for a reason - be interested, listen, ask questions and then continue the discussion at the end, get a business card and keep in touch. That first impression is essential to helping you to be memorable, so make sure you think about how you want to be remembered! This article explains how important making a good first impression is within business networking, especially if you want people to help you or potentially even work with you in the future: http://uk.askmen.com/money/successful/51_success.html

First impressions aren’t always created face to face however so remember that what you post on the internet can be accessed! Try typing your name into Google and see what comes up – your facebook page , your linked in page, your twitter page, your location, your current job title, previous published work, that aggressive post your wrote on that forum last week, things you don’t want people to know about! The Drum recently posted this article which claims 91% of potential employers screen candidates through social media sites - so when you’re applying for graduate jobs or graduate schemes, maybe you should re-think that hilarious drunken profile picture! http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2011/10/24/91-employers-use-social-media-screen-applicants