Improving your employability when you are graduate: networking

Assured Angel By Assured Angel, 13th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Graduates

Networking can be such an ugly and scary word especially if you have just graduated. With the current climate, it is a skill that is coming more and more to the fore. Although there are no guarantees, there a few hints and tips to making the most out of the networking opportunities out there.

Graduate skills: The art of networking

In this current climate, graduates and job-hunters are finding it hard to find work - no matter how qualified they are. They are no guarantees when it comes to job-hunting. However, there are steps that a job-seeker can take that will make them more attractive to employers. One of these is having an excellent CV and cover letter. Another is having good work experience (unless starting a business is something that a candidate wants to explore). But one of the key ones is learning how to network. Networking is not just for sales-hungry and pushy businessman, it's principles can be used to help in the search for that job that will set the graduate on their career path.

There are a various ways to network, but it is not for the those who are shy wallflowers and it is not the quickest way of finding a job. Not only is networking a good way of helping to determine a career path, it is best way of getting oneself out there in the job market and making oneself known. It does take time to build a network of contacts and maintain it and it can seem like a thankless task but laying the foundations now, can pay dividends in the future working life of an individual. There are several ways of creating a solid contact network. This article will deal with some of them.

Firstly, start close to home with friends and family, past colleagues even teachers and students. Do not forget contacts made whilst in placements, work experience, voluntary and community work. They may know people that are in the line of work you are interested in. In order for networking to be effective, prospective employers have to remember you and that means having and leaving a good impression.There is a limited time to make an impact so short and sweet - quick explanation why you want to talk to them and if it is possible to speak to them. If it is not convenient, arrange a different time. Do not forget the thank you letter, phone-call or email. Phone and face-to-face contact are harder to ignore - as they are more immediate and require a quicker response - so use them. However, do not become a harasser or you will be known for all he wrong reasons. There is a fine line between persistence and stalking! Be careful. When sending written correspondence check and double check that there are no mistakes and that the proper tone has been struck. Always be ready with pertinent questions. Think about it in advance. Here are some examples:

What are the current issues currently affecting your company?
What is the job like?
What are they currently working on?

Answers to these questions will help you later on when you are applying. Discuss the possibility of work experience and - if that is not possible - work shadowing. This will allow you gain an insight which will help you when deciding and when making an application. At the very least, you will have made a positive and lasting impression and will be kept in mind should any opportunities arise. When they ask you about yourself, be prepared to answer. Be positive but concise.

How do you start building up a network of contacts? Here some helpful tips:

* If you are not shy, why not contact the company direct either by phone or email. Try and find out who the key contacts are and try and speak to them. Make sure that you also follow up any contact that you have made. Try the recruitment or the human resources department. They are the hub of the company and know most of the people within the company so it pays to start here.

* Take advantage of the sources that are around you especially if you are in full-time education. Your careers service, the alumni network even your department heads may have contacts within the industry that you are interested in so do not be afraid to ask.


* Find out the details of any trade or commercial associations and speak to them. They may have members who are interested in their line of work.

The key to successful networking is confidence. Building up and maintaining contacts is very important when conducting a job-search. It is crucial that one knows the key people to contact and follow it up when contact is made. Balance has to be struck between being persistent and harassing people. You want to leave a good impression and you may not always have a lot of time to do so. Make sure you are prepared because you never know when the opportunity will arise.

Tags

Career, Career Change, Careers, Graduates, Jobs, Networking

Meet the author

author avatar Assured Angel
Talented and experienced freelance writer/ businesswoman with a legal background whose engaging, confident but professional attitude is reflected in her writing.
I have also written extensively (over 100 articles) and continue to do soon many subj...(more)

Share this page

moderator Sam Wormleighton moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password